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The Study of Scripture

For those who wish to digest the "strong [solid] meat,"
not just "the milk or meat," of the Word of God.
~ Hebrews 5:12-14

The earth had been brought into existence for a purpose – “to be inhabited,” i.e., to be an inhabited province in God’s kingdom (Isaiah 45:18); and, following its ruin, the earth was restored in order that God’s purpose for the earth might be realized.

Man, likewise, had been brought into existence for a purpose, which is regal (Genesis 1:26-28); and following man’s ruin, God began a work of restoration in order that His purpose for man’s existence might ultimately be realized.

The Study of Scripture
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

TOPIC INDEX LINKS:

Introduction

There are no shortcuts to the study of Scripture.  Coming into a knowledge of the Word of God takes time and effort; and it is a continuous, lifelong process that one never completes.

A person progressively comes into a knowledge of the Word over time as he applies himself to study.  The Word of God is received into his saved human spirit; and, within this process, the Holy Spirit takes the Word and leads that individual “into all truth,” “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — comparing Scripture with Scripture (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — leading him from immaturity to maturity.

However, though there are no shortcuts, there are correct ways to look upon and study Scripture that will pay huge dividends.  And that’s what this book, The Study of Scripture, is mainly about.

A person can study Scripture from an incorrect perspective throughout his life and not really learn that much about it.  On the other hand, a person can study Scripture from a correct perspective and, over time, learn a great deal about it.

For example, one MUST understand that Genesis 1:1-2:3 forms a foundational framework upon which the whole of the remainder of Scripture rests.  This is fundamental and primary, which is the reason a person reading this book will find so much time spent relating the whole of Scripture to that which is revealed at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Then understanding such things as how and why God divides mankind as He does (Jews, Gentiles, and Christians), or understanding the ages and dispensations as they relate to these divisions of mankind, becomes fundamental and primary with respect to properly understanding the relationship between the foundational framework (Genesis 1:1-2:3) and the remainder of Scripture (Genesis 2:4ff)

Everything is tied together after some fashion, and the more one sees and understands different things about Scripture from a correct perspective, the more all things throughout Scripture simply and naturally fall into place.  And the inverse of that is equally true, for the latter is dependent on the former.

Foreword

When studying the Scriptures — whether the Old Testament or the New Testament — one is studying about Jesus the Christ, whom God has “appointed Heir of all things” (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:2).  There is nothing in the New Testament that is not seen after some fashion in the Old.  The New Testament is simply a revealing, an unveiling, of God’s Son, as previously introduced in the Old Testament Scriptures.

“Jesus” is the Word made “flesh,” referring, in an inseparable sense, to both the Old Testament Scriptures and to God becoming “flesh” in the person of His Son.  “Jesus” is not only God manifested in the flesh but the Old Testament Scriptures manifested in the flesh as well.

There is “the written Word,” inseparably identified with “God,” and there is this same Word manifested in the form of “flesh,” with life and inseparability seen throughout.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God. . . .

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2, 14)

Thus, “studying Scripture,” one is simply studying about God’s Son.  And note that the Word became “fleshafter the whole of the Old Testament had been penned but before a single word of the New Testament had been penned.  In that respect, one would have to conclude that there is nothing in the New that is not seen after some fashion in the Old, else God’s Son — the Word becomingflesh” — would have been incomplete at the time of His incarnation.

Then, in John 1:14, the Word becoming “flesh” is seen in connection with two things:

1) Christ’s Glory.

2)  Christ’s Sonship, God’s Firstborn (“sonship” implies rulership, and it is firstborn sons who rule in the human realm).

All of this can only take one back to the beginning of God’s revelation of His Son, back to the opening verses of Genesis.  That which God desires man to know about His plans and purposes, which He will bring to pass through His Son, begin at this point.

And everything from this point forward is regal.  Everything has to do with God’s Son, God’s Firstborn, who has been “appointed Heir of all things.”  And everything moves toward that day when God’s Son will come forth in all His Glory and realize this inheritance.

The Old Testament opens this way, providing the complete story in the opening book.  And the New Testament opens exactly the same way, providing commentary on the manner in which the Old Testament opens, providing the complete story, after another fashion, in one book as well.

Scripture begins in Genesis with, “In the beginning . . . [lit., ‘In beginning…’],”and the New Testament begins exactly the same way, though a problem exists because of the manner in which man has arranged the four gospels beginning the New Testament.

The Gospel of John is the only gospel that begins the same way Genesis begins, “In the beginning . . . [lit., ‘In beginning…’], along with the fact that both Genesis and John parallel one another completely, from beginning to end.

Thus, if the gospel of John occupied its proper place in the arrangement of books in the New Testament, both books, Genesis and John, would not only introduce each Testament exactly the same way but both of these books would relate the complete story of each Testament — the complete story of Scripture as a whole — at the beginning of each Testament.

(The gospel of John, over the years, has been the one gospel among the four that has provided problems for those arranging the order of the four gospels introducing the New Testament.  New Testaments have been printed in the past with John occupying different places among the four, even placed at the beginning of the four gospels.

However, the gospel of John is presently in the wrong place in relation to the other three [placed after the other three rather than at the beginning].  And this, along with Christians not understanding the structure of both Genesis and John — paralleling one another, introducing each Testament, and relating the complete story of Scripture — can only be responsible, in no small part, for an existing biblical ignorance among Christians concerning the central message of Scripture.

And a purported late date for the writing of the gospel of John [usually seen as about 90 A.D.] has not helped matters in the preceding respect.  The gospel of John, of necessity, by its own internal evidence, had to be written much earlier.  Since the gospel was directed to the Jewish people during the reoffer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel [evident by the signs (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:22) in conjunction with that which is stated in John 20:30-31 concerning the purpose for these signs], it could not possibly have been written after about 63 A.D. [when this reoffer closed] and may have been written as early as about 45 A.D. [an early date accepted by a number of scholars on the basis of late manuscript evidence].  In fact, because of the place that the gospel of John occupies in relation to the other three [paralleling the place that Genesis occupies in relation to the other four books of Moses], it is very likely that the gospel of John was written first, before the other three.

For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Signs in John's Gospel by Arlen Chitwood, particularly Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Signs in John's Gospel, Ch. 1 and Ch. 18)

Genesis, in the opening two chapters, begins with:

1) A creation at a beginning point (Genesis 1:1).
2) A subsequent ruin of the creation (Genesis 1:2a).
3) A restoration of the ruined creation (material creation), through divine intervention, over six days’ time (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).
4) Man created on the sixth day, following all of God’s restorative work, for a revealed purpose having to do with the seventh day (Genesis 1:26-31).
5) God resting on the seventh day, following all of His work (Genesis 2:1-3).

John, in the opening two chapters, begins with:

1) A creation at a beginning point (John 1:1-3).
2) A subsequent ruin of the creation (John 1:4-5).
3) A restoration of the ruined creation (ruined man), through divine intervention, over six days’ time (John 1:6-2:1 [John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1]).
4) Man seen as redeemed at the end of six days, following all of God’s restorative work, for a revealed purpose having to do with the seventh day (John 2:2-11).
5) God resting on the seventh day, following all of His work (John 2:2-11).

In Genesis, the restoration is that of the material creation, foreshadowing the restoration of man even before his creation and fall.

In John, the restoration is that of ruined man, foreshadowed in the Genesis account.

In both, the purpose is the same — placing restored man (redeemed man) on a restored earth (a redeemed earth), in a regal position, on the seventh day.

And this septenary, foundational overview, seen in the opening two chapters of each book, relates the complete story of Scripture.  Each of the six days of God’s restorative work, foreshadowed in either account (Genesis or John), has to do with days of 1,000 years each (cf. 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).  That is to say, God is presently working six days, 6,000 years, to bring about the restoration of both man and the material creation.  Then, at the conclusion of His work, man will be in a position to realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning.  Man will be in a position to rule a restored earth with the second Man, the last Adam, during the seventh day, during the seventh 1,000-year day.

The preceding is the parallel manner in which both books begin; and from this point in both books, the parallel continues.

Genesis is built around numerous types, and John is built around eight signs.

The types in Genesis have to do centrally with Abraham and his seed through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s progeny through his twelve sons — the nation of Israel.  And all of these types provide different facets of God’s present restorative work, ending at the same place as His past restorative work, on the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period.

The signs in John have to do with and are directed to the seed of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s progeny through his twelve sons — the nation of Israel.  And all of these signs, exactly as in the types in Genesis, provide different facets of God’s present restorative work, ending at the same place as His past restorative work, on the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period.

(Scripture was established in this type of structure at the beginning of each Testament.  And, within this structure, the relationship of John to Genesis is typical of the relationship of the whole of the New Testament to the whole of the Old Testament.  The New Testament, by various means [signs, parables, metaphors, other means] simply provides commentary, opens up, that which is previously seen after some fashion in the Old Testament [types, metaphors, the Prophets, etc.].)

This book, The Study of Scripture, covers different facets of how to study and understand the Scriptures in the light of the central subject matter of Scripture and the manner in which Scripture is structured, as seen in the preceding summary data.

The whole of Scripture is about Jesus the Christ.  And the whole of Scripture moves toward a seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period, when God’s firstborn Son, God’s Christ, will come into possession of His inheritance, and, with Israel [presently God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23)] and the Church [to be revealed as God’s firstborn son in that coming day, following the adoption (Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 12:22-23)] will realize that which is seen in the opening chapter of Genesis at the time of man’s creation — “. . . let them have dominion [Hebrew: radah, ‘rule’; ‘. . . let them rule’]” (Genesis 1:26, 28).

1)  Foundational Prerequisites

In the beginning God . . . . (Genesis 1:1a)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

The Old Testament opens with the statement, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”; and the gospel of John opens with a parallel simple statement, “In the beginning was the Word . . . All things were made by Him . . .” (John 1:1, 3a [1a]).  Both references go back to the same point in time — the beginning of God’s creative activity relative to the heavens and the earth. 

The first five verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-5) parallel the first five verses of the gospel of John (John 1:1-5).  Then, beginning with Genesis 1:6 in the gospel account, though the parallel between the two books continues, John moves millenniums ahead and deals with events during his day, though he still continues to reference events of prior days.

The gospel of Matthew, opening the New Testament after the manner in which man has arranged the order of the four gospels, immediately references the Old Testament after another fashion — “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).  And in the gospel of Luke, the matter of Christ’s genealogy is carried all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38).

Thus, in this respect, the Old Testament leads into the New after an inseparable fashion, regardless of which gospel is being referenced.  The New Testament forms a continuation and completion of that which was begun in the old; and both together constitute one continuous, complete revelation that God gave to man over a period of about 1,500 years through some forty different Jewish writers, revealing His plans and purposes in relation to man, the earth, and the universe at large.

(Refer to the Foreword in this book to see why the gospel of John should be viewed as beginning the New Testament, not the gospel of Matthew, even though any one of the four gospels can be seen as forming a continuation of Old Testament revelation.)

In this respect, one Testament (Old or New) must be understood in the light of the other (Old or New), apart from precedence given to either.  It is no more or no less valid to interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New as it is to interpret the New Testament in the light of the Old.  One is to be interpreted both in the light of itself (other parts of the same Testament) and in the light of the other (the New in the light of the Old, or the Old in the light of the New)

The interpretative method laid down in Scripture is very simple:

. . . not in words that man’s wisdom teaches but that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13b)

One part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) is compared with another part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit.

Then, again, many of the distinctions that Christians often view between the Old and New Testaments simply do not exist.  A basis for calling the two parts of Scripture by these names could be derived from verses such as 2 Corinthians 3:6, 14; but to see one Testament as Jewish and the other as Christian, as is often done, is about as far removed from biblical reality as one can get.

The word “testament” is a translation of the Greek word for covenant (diatheke).  The word appears thirty-three times in the New Testament, and, in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, it has been rendered “covenant” twenty times and “testament” the other thirteen (cf. Hebrews 9:4, 15).  Either translation is correct so long as one understands that the thought has to do with two different covenants.

And confusion often arises at this point through the erroneous thought that the new covenant has been made with the Church.  That simply is incorrect.  Covenants are not made with the Church.  They never have been, and they never will be.

Since the call of Abraham 4,000 years ago, God, within His covenant relationship to mankind, concerns Himself with one nation alone — the nation of Israel (Romans 9:4).  The old covenant was made with the house of Israel during the days of Moses, and the new covenant will be made with the house of Israel when the One greater than Moses returns (Hebrews 8:7ff; cf. Jeremiah 31:31ff).

During the interim, Christians are ministers of the new covenant in the sense that the shed blood of Christ is the blood of this covenant, and the entire basis for any Christian’s ministry has to do with this blood — blood shed at Calvary, presently on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies of the heavenly tabernacle (Matthew 26:28; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:14-22).  But the fact remains.  The new covenant has not been — nor will it ever be — made with the Church.

The new covenant will replace the old, and it will be made with those in possession of the old.  And, apart from being ministers of the new during the interim (for the blood has been shed, and this is the basis for all ministry during the present time), the Church has no more to do with the establishment of the new covenant than it did with the establishment of the old covenant.

Thus, when one talks about “New Testament doctrine,” “New Testament theology,” etc., the expressions cannot extend beyond the thought of doctrine or theology that has for its basis the shed blood of Christ; and this is something that cannot be understood at all apart from the Old Testament.

Revelation surrounding the shedding of blood for the remission of sins begins in Genesis 3, immediately following man’s fall; and the entire Old Testament sacrificial system that followed pointed toward the One — of whom the prophets spoke (cf. Isaiah 53:12; Zechariah 12:10; 13:6) — who would one day come and take away “the sin of the world” by the sacrifice of Himself (John 1:29).

The foundations have been established in the Old Testament, and both Testaments together comprise one continuous, complete revelation of all the various facets of the person and work of Christ.  And the only way one can grasp the complete picture is to look at the whole of Scripture after this fashion.

All Scripture is Theopneustos

2 Timothy 3:16 in the KJV reads,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

The words, “given by inspiration of God,” are a translation of the one Greek word, theopneustos, meaning “God-breathed.”  This is a compound word comprised of Theos (“God”) and pneuma (“breath” in this particular usage [this is also the word used for “Spirit” in the New Testament — the Holy Spirit, man’s spirit, and the use of spirit in general; also “wind” in John 3:8]).

That which is meant by and the implications of Scripture being God-breathed are given in a somewhat simple manner in Scripture, but one has to look at and compare related parts of both Testaments before he can really begin to see and understand that which is involved.  A person has to reference passages in both Testaments, studying passages from one in the light of passages from the other.  He has to compare Scripture with Scripture, i.e., he has to compare “spiritual things with spiritual.”

Note first of all Hebrews 4:12a:

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. . . .

Now, the question: Why is the Word of God “living,” “powerful,” and “sharper than any two-edged sword”?  The answer:

Because of its origin.  The Word is “theopneustos”; the Word is “God-breathed.”

But, what does that mean?  And why is the Word “living” because of its origin?  This is where one has to go back to beginning points in the Old Testament and find the first mention in Scripture of God bringing a matter to pass through the use of His breath.

This is necessary not only because of the need to compare Scripture with Scripture but also because of a principle of biblical interpretation, called, “the First-Mention Principle.”

This principle has to do with unchangeableness, and it centers on an unchangeable structure of the Word given by the unchangeable God.  Because of the inherent nature of the Word, the first time a subject is mentioned in Scripture, a pattern, a mold is established at that point that remains unchanged throughout the remainder of Scripture.

Remaining within this principle, the first time one finds the breath of God mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 2:7, in connection with life imparted to man; and, consequently, at this beginning point, this verse connects life with the breath of God after an unchangeable fashion.  God formed and fashioned man from the dust of the ground, but man was not created alive.  Life was subsequently imparted through God breathing into man’s “nostrils the breath of life,” resulting in man becoming “a living being [soul, KJV].”

Thus, at this point in Scripture the unchangeable connection between God’s breath and life is established and set.  Only God can produce life, and any time life is produced beyond this point it must always be through the one means set forth at the beginning, revealed in Genesis 2:7.

The whole of the matter can be illustrated after a simple fashion from a later Old Testament passage, the vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37.

The bones are presented as lifeless, and the question is asked in Ezekiel 37:3, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  Then note in Ezekiel 37:5 how life is to be affected: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.”

And Ezekiel 37:8, revealing their condition following “sinews,” “flesh,” and “skin” covering them, but prior to God acting, states, “there was no breath in them.”  Then there is a cry in verse nine for “breath” so that “these slain . . . may live.”  And the end of the matter is then given in Ezekiel 37:10: “. . . breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

(Ezekiel 37, in its entirety, outlines events of a yet future day.  It has to do with that time when Messiah returns and life is restored to “the whole house of Israel, which includes both those alive at that time [those already possessing natural life, but not spiritual life] and resurrected Old Testament saints [those already possessing spiritual life, but not natural life] [Exodus 13:19; cf. Ezekiel 36:24-28].

The remnant in the land today comprises only a small portion of “the whole house of Israel”; and this remnant, in relation to God’s breath, can only be described after the same fashion as Jews anywhere else in the world — spiritually lifeless.   Then, beyond that, the dead from the past dispensation must be included [Scripture presents “the whole house of Israel” remaining dead for the entire two days — 2,000 years — of the present dispensation (John 11:6-7, 43-44)].

The whole house of Israel” is pictured today after one fashion in Scripture — very dry bones, without breath.  But they will one day live.  When?

After two days [after 2,000 years] will He revive us: in the third day [in the third 1,000-year period, the Messianic Era] He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight” [Hosea 6:2].)

Thus, there is the information from the Old Testament to show what is meant by the statement in 2 Timothy 3:16 (“All Scripture is God-breathed . . . .”), to show the connection between this verse and Hebrews 4:12 (“For the Word of God is living . . . .”), and to show the full implications involved by what is further stated about the whole of Scripture in both passages.

(Note also Luke 8:55; James 2:26; Revelation 13:15.  The word pneuma appears in each verse, referring to “life”; and the word should be understood as “breath” in these passages.)

Then there is the inseparable connection between the Spirit (the Pneuma) and the Word:

For prophecy [referring to written revelation (2 Peter 1:20)] never came by the will of man, but holy [set apart] men of God spoke as they were moved [borne along] by the Holy Spirit.  (2 Peter 1:21)

The Word is “God-breathed,” and thus “living,” because of the Spirit’s inseparable connection with the Word.  He is the One who gave the Word to man through man, and He is the One presently in the world to guide man “into all truth” through the use of this Word (John 16:13).

The Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) is not only the One who gave the Word after this fashion in past time, but He is also the One who effects man’s regeneration after a similar fashion during the present time.  It is the present work of the Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) in man’s regeneration that produces life (there must be breathing in for man to pass “from death to life” [cf. Genesis 1:2; 2:7; John 3:6-8; 5:24]).   And the Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) not only produces this life (based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary), but He presently indwells the one to whom He has imparted life in order to lead and guide that person into an understanding — from immaturity to maturity — of the God-breathed Word that He Himself previously imparted to man through man.

Thus, it is the breath of God producing life in unregenerate man today, through the instrumentality of the Spirit, based on the Son’s finished work.  And that new life is nurtured and sustained by a continued work of the Spirit, through the use of that which is itself the breath of God, and, accordingly, living.

The Holy Spirit uses only that which is living to nourish and nurture that which has been made alive.  Spiritual growth from immaturity to maturity requires spiritual nourishment, which is derived from only one source.  There’s no other way for spiritual growth to occur.

That’s why pastor-teachers have been exhorted to “Preach the Word,” and that’s why Christians have been exhorted to “study” this same Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2).  A person’s ability to function in the spiritual realm is inseparably connected with that person’s knowledge of and ability to use the Word of God.

It’s the WORD, the WORD, the WORD!  Christians have been given nothing else; nor do they need anything else.

Faith is . . . By (through) Faith . . . without Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. . . .

By [Through, KJV] faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. . . . .

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6)

When an unsaved man believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit breathes life into that man, based on the finished work of God’s Son at Calvary.  Breath is imparted, and man passes “from death to life” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1, 5).  Man’s spiritual nature is made alive, resulting in that individual possessing something that he, heretofore, didn’t possess — spiritual life.  This is wrought, in its entirety, through the work of the Spirit of God; and this new life is then to be fed and nurtured by the same Spirit through the use of that which is itself spiritual.

All is spiritual.  Consequently, there is a spiritual life that  requires spiritual sustenance, resulting in a spiritual walk, etc.

All of this is completely alien to the thinking of “the natural man [‘the soulical man’],” who is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  He does not have spiritual life.  His experiences relative to “life” pertain only to the natural; and, resultingly, “the things of the Spirit of God,” having to do with spiritual life, are “foolishness to him” (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).

Things having to do with this spiritual life are “spiritually discerned,” and the natural man has no capacity to comprehend these things, for, spiritually, he is dead.  There is no breath from God within that person. He is as the bones in the valley in Ezekiel 37 — very dry, without breath.

On the other hand, the spiritual man, having “passed from death to life” through the impartation of breath, possesses the capacity to understand spiritual truth.   And the spiritual man, within his spiritual walk, is to act in only one realm.  He is to act in the realm of “faith.”  The interrelated realms of “sight,” “man’s wisdom,” “the arm of flesh,” etc. are all alien to the realm of “faith.”  Faith alone has to do with “the spiritual”; all else has to do with “the natural.”
 
Faith” is simply believing God.   Acting or walking “by faith” is simply acting or walking on the basis of what God has said about a matter.

 . . . who has believed our report? 

So then faith comes by [out of] hearing, and hearing by [through] the Word of God. (Romans 10:16-17 [16b])

God has spoken, redeemed man within his spiritual capacity is to avail himself of that which God has stated, and he is then to act accordingly.

1)  Faith is

Hebrews 11:1 is not a definition of faith.  Rather the verse, continuing from the preceding chapter, provides that which results in the spiritual life from one’s exercise of faith.  And, as is evident from the verses leading into chapter eleven, this has to do particularly with things related to the saving of the soul.

The word “believe” in Hebrews 10:39 and the word “faith” in the next verse (Hebrews 11:1) are from the same word in the Greek text (pistis).  Also note “faith” (pistis) in Hebrews 10:38 (ref. NASB).  The thought from verses concluding Hebrews 10 continues right on into Hebrews 11, and this should be so understood as one begins reading in chapter eleven.

In Hebrews 10:38, the “just [redeemed]” person is to “live by faith.”  He is to believe God as he exercises “patience [‘patient endurance’]” under present trials and testing, knowing that a promised inheritance lies out ahead and knowing that one day (“yet a little while”) “He who is coming will come” and will bring to pass that which has been promised (Hebrews 10:36-37; cf. Hebrews 6:12; James 1:2-4, 12).

If he (the “just” person who is presently believing God and acting on that basis) draws back from such a life, the Lord states, “My soul has no pleasure in him.”  That is, if the person draws back (stops believing God and, resultantly, acts on the basis of non-belief, non-faith), God will not be pleased or delighted at all with that person.

God delights in an individual living in one realm only — the realm of belief, faith.  God delights in an individual, by faith, keeping his eyes fixed on the revealed goal out ahead and moving toward that goal — the goal that God revealed in His Word.  God delights in an individual, by faith, fixing and keeping his attention centered on that which He Himself has revealed to be of utmost importance.

And that’s exactly what is in view in these closing verses of Hebrews 10, leading into Hebrews 11.  Closing chapter ten, the writer states,

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition [those ceasing to walk by faith, resulting in their own ruin (in relation to the matter at hand — the promised inheritance, the saving of the soul)]; but of those who believe [continue walking by faith] to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

Those in the former group take their eyes off the goal, begin looking around, and God has no delight in them.  Those in the latter group though keep their eyes fixed on the goal, they don’t begin looking back or to one side or the other, and God delights in them.  One is unfaithful to the saving of the soul, and the other is faithful to the saving of the soul.

That’s the backdrop for Hebrews 11; and when one begins at verse one, he must understand that this chapter is simply a continuation of that which has proceeded.  Verse one should be understood in the sense of,

Now believing God to the saving of the soul [Hebrews 10:39] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Substance” is the translation of the Greek word hupostasis.  This is a compound word, comprised of hupo (under) and stasis (to stand).  The word, in its literal sense, means, “to stand under.”  In this respect, it is used in the sense of “a foundation,” that which stands under and supports the structure above.

Believing God (with particular reference to the saving of the soul) is that which stands under all else.  Believing God is that which forms this foundation.  In this respect, believing God and the foundation of matters at hand are, in reality, one and the same.  Thus, apart from such belief, the structure above will have no foundation below.  If the structure ever existed in the first place (note those who drew back [Hebrews 10:38-39]), it can only collapse; and if it never existed at all, a building process cannot occur.

Some English translations or word studies will use terms such as “firm confidence” or “assurance” in an effort to convey the meaning of hupostasis.  These are good and well, but they are only efforts of translators to convey into English that which is set forth in the Greek text as a firmly fixed foundation upon which all must be built, if it is to be built.

In the preceding respect, believing God to the saving of the soul is the firm confidence (the unshakable foundation) “of things hoped for, the evidence [a ‘bringing to light’ so that we have proof] of things not seen.”

Believing God is the firm confidence of one day realizing the hope set before us (cf. Titus 1:2; 2:12-13; 3:7; Hebrews 3:6; 6:12-20); and believing God brings to light all the things that God has promised after such a fashion that we have proof.  He has promised these things in the God-breathed Word, and His Word fails not.

2)  By (through) Faith

By (through) faith we understand . . . .” (Hebrews 11:3)  That is to say, “By (through) believing what God has revealed in His Word, we understand . . . .” This could apply to any realm in which God has spoken, but the text has to do with God’s design of the ages and that which He has purposed for man within the framework of these ages.

Through believing God we understand “that the worlds [Greek: aionas, ages] were framed [established in an orderly arrangement and manner] by the Word of God. . . .”  The reference would be back to the opening verses of Hebrews.

God has appointed His Son “Heir of all things,” and it was through the work of His Son within the framework of the ages that God, in the beginning, “made the worlds [‘made the ages’]” (Hebrews 1:2).

God is a God of order.  All the ages — encompassing all time (past, present, and future) — have been placed in an orderly arrangement and this was done in the beginning.  Not only is this the case, but the divine design surrounding this orderly arrangement centers on the work of God’s Son within the framework of these ages.

And knowledge of this fact will, at the very outset, tell one what the book of Hebrews is about.  Immediately preceding seven Messianic quotations, the book begins by calling attention to the Son’s coming heirship within the framework of the ages that God has established (Hebrews 1:2-13).

Then after dealing with Christians through two major warnings relative to that future day when “the Heir of all things” will bring “many sons to glory” with Him, as these sons realize “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2; 3; 4), the writer refers to Christ being made a Priestafter the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6ff); a quotation from Psalm 110:4), a Messianic Psalm:

You are a Priest forever [lit., ‘with respect to the age’ (one age)] after the order of Melchizedek.

And Christ being made a Priest after this order is specifically stated to be something reserved for a time encompassed by one of the ages within the framework of all the ages referred to in Hebrews 1:2; 11:3.

Thus, within this framework, Hebrews 11:3 should not only be understood in the light of Hebrews 1:2 but also in the light of Hebrews 5:6ff.  The “age” referred to in Hebrews 5:6 can, contextually, only be the Messianic Era, the age in which the Son will be manifested as “Heir of all things,” that future time when He will bring “many sons to glory” with Him (Hebrews 1:2; 2:10).

This is what the book is about; and this must be recognized as one moves throughout the book, else he will find himself lost in a sea of misinterpretation.

Then note the latter part of Hebrews 11:3: “. . . so that things that are seen were not made of things that are visible.”  Again, remain within the context for a correct understanding of that which has been stated.  The context (Hebrews 10:38ff) has to do with the saving of the soul, the hope set before us, and the ages placed in an orderly arrangement by God.  And the emphasis, contextually, is on one particular age within these ages — that age when Christ will exercise the Melchizedek priesthood, the Messianic Era.

The “things that are seen” and the “things that are visible,” contextually, cannot refer to the origin of the material universe about us.  The reference is not back to Genesis 1:1ff, though we do, as well, understand, “by faith” that which is stated concerning God’s creation of all that exists.  Rather, the reference is to existing conditions seen “by sight” during the present age, which are set in contrast to the things that redeemed man has been allowed to see “by faith” (“things that are visible”) relative to God’s divine design within the framework of His arrangement of the ages.  And, again, the emphasis in the realm of faith would be on one particular age within these ages, the Messianic Era (the things hoped for, yet unseen [though seen by faith], in Hebrews 11:1).

The latter part of Hebrews 11:3 should be understood in the sense of,

. . . so that the things which are seen [things which one sees by sight in the world today (part of the disorder which exists)] were not made of things that are visible [did not emanate out of that which can be seen by faith (God’s orderly arrangement, as seen in Scripture)].

The word ginomai (“to become,” “happen,” “take place” referring to something with a definite beginning and possible ending) appears in a perfect tense in the Greek text in the latter part of this verse (translated, with a negative, “were not made” [KJV]).  The perfect tense refers to action completed in the past and existing during present time in a finished state. Ginomai in this verse refers to God’s past action in arranging the ages in an orderly fashion — action completed at that time and presently existing in a finished state.

Thus, in this sense, there is a present aspect to the matter of God’s orderly arrangement of the ages.  But the verse states specifically that though there is a present aspect, the present disorderly condition all about us, which one can see and experience, is separate and distinct from the orderly condition that God has decreed (past) will shortly exist (future).

This orderly condition is what Christians can presently see by and through simply believing God.  They can see what God had decreed, established, and promised in the past through His orderly structure of the ages.  Then they can view the present and future within this framework, believing God and conducting their present pilgrim walk accordingly.

3)  Without Faith

Apart from faith — apart from believing God — it is impossible to please Him.  And that would be self-explanatory.  God has spoken, and He expects the one to whom He has spoken to believe that which He has stated. If man believes, then God is pleased.  However, if man doesn’t believe, then the opposite is trueGod is displeased.  The matter is that simple.

The same thought can be seen a few verses earlier in Hebrews 10:38.  The “just” person is to live by faith.  If though he departs from such a life, the Lord states, “My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

The context in Hebrews 10:38 has to do with faith relative to a promised inheritance at the time of Christ's return (Hebrews 10:36-39), and Hebrews 11:6 is no different.  In this verse the one coming to God by faithmust believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Believing that God “is” would take one back to God’s statement to Moses in Exodus 3:14.  God, revealing Himself to Moses, simply identified Himself as “I Am.” And the verb used in the Greek text of Hebrews 11:6 would be a Greek equivalent.  It is simply a verb of being (eimi), incorporating no beginning or end (as distinguished from ginomai used back in Hebrews 11:3).

It is the same verb used in John 1:1-2,  translated “was”: “In the beginning was the Word. . . .” That is, the Word existed without reference to a beginning or an end at that point in time when the material creation was brought into existence.

(The same Greek verb was also used by Christ when He identified Himself to the “band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees” in John 18:5-8.  The identifying words, “I am He,” should literally read, “I Am”— a clear declaration of His deity, identifying Himself with the God of the Old Testament.)

Believing that God “is” is simply believing in His eternal, unchangeable existence as set forth in the Word.  He always has so existed, and He always will so exist. “In the beginning God . . . .” And God expects man to believe that He “is” on one basis alone — the revelation of Himself in His Word (cf. Hebrews 13:8).

Then God expects man to believe that He is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” on the basis of the same revelation.  God offers rewards for faithfulness, and He expects man to believe that this is the case on the simple basis of the fact that He has so stated.

Man though often sees things in a somewhat different respect, disdaining the teaching of rewards and compensation for faithfulness; but not so with Scripture.  To the contrary, Scripture deals with faith in relation to rewards and compensation.  This, textually, is what is being believed in an exercise of faith.

And the highest of all rewards is that with which the context is concerned — the reception of the promised inheritance at the time of Christ’s return.  And that is really the thought that carries over into the text (note the inheritance mentioned in connection with Noah and Abraham in the succeeding two verses [Hebrews 11:7-8]).  Then the whole of chapter eleven continues and ends with this same subject — receiving that which has been promised (cf. Hebrews 10:36; 11:9, 13, 26, 39).

Concluding Remarks

The beginning points and prerequisites for coming into an understanding of the Word are very simple:

A person must first of all see the Word for what it is — the God-breathed Word that not only reveals God’s plans and purposes within the framework of the ages but that which is also able to build a person up and give him an inheritance within the one age toward which all things move — the coming Messianic Era (Acts 20:32).

Then, in order for the latter to occur, a person must believe God and govern his life accordingly.  And to do this he must begin at the point of finding out what God has stated, for “faith comes by [out of] hearing, and hearing by [through] the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

And there’s no limit to the heights a person can rise in the realm of faith, for there’s no limit to the depths of God’s revelation to man.  The latter is inexhaustible, and so must the former be as well.

2)  The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture

There remains therefore a rest [Sabbath rest] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

Hebrews 4:1-11 deals with a rest that will be realized by “the people of God” during the seventh millennium dating from the restoration of the earth and the creation of man in Genesis 1.

Teachings surrounding this rest, textually and contextually, viewed from the standpoint of the way matters are outlined in the book of Hebrews, are based on three portions of Old Testament Scripture:

1. The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and later under Joshua (Hebrews 3:2-19).

2. Reference back to God’s work and subsequent rest during the seven days of Genesis 1; 2 (Hebrews 4:4).

3. The Sabbath given to Israel that the nation was to keep week after week following six days of work (Hebrews 4:9).

The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and later Joshua, during a past dispensation form the type; and the experiences of Christians under Christ during the present dispensation, leading into the coming dispensation, form the antitype

Then teachings surrounding a rest lying before both the Israelites in the type and Christians in the antitype are drawn from the rest that God entered into following six days of work in Genesis 1; 2. 

And the Sabbath was given to the Jewish people to keep, ever before them, throughout their generations, that foreshadowed by events in the opening two chapters of Genesis (cf. Exodus 20:8-11; 31:13-17).

Teachings drawn from the opening two chapters of Genesis form the key to the entire matter, and a correct understanding and interpretation of these opening chapters is not something that should be taken lightly.  Scripture is built upon a structure that is laid down in these two chapters, and an individual’s understanding and interpretation of numerous things throughout the remainder of Scripture will be governed by his understanding and interpretation of this opening section of Scripture.

If one understands these opening verses correctly, he will understand how God has structured His revelation to man, allowing him to grasp numerous things that he could not otherwise understand.  However, if one fails to understand these opening verses correctly, the opposite will be true.  He will not have gone in a correct direction at the beginning, which can only reflect negatively on his understanding of related matters in all future studies.

The preceding, for example, is the reason many individuals fail to see the proper relationship of the Sabbath rest in Hebrews 4:9 to God’s rest following six days of work in Genesis 2:2-3 (cf. Hebrews 4:4).  They attempt to relate this rest to something that Christians enter into during the present day and time, which is a time prior to the seventh day, a time not even in view.  Or this is the reason many individuals attempt to understand 2 Peter 3:8 in the light of Psalm 90:4, when, contextually, 2 Peter 3:8 must be understood in the light of the septenary structure of Scripture, introduced at the beginning, in the opening two chapters of Genesis (cf. 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-7).

With these things in mind, material in the next two sections of this chapter will deal with the structure of the Hebrew text in parts of Genesis chapter one — particularly Genesis 1:2 — allowing the septenary structure of this opening section of Scripture to be properly seen and understood from the standpoint of an exact rendering of the text itself.  Then, the remaining section in this chapter will deal with this septenary structure as seen in subsequent parts of Scripture.

One MUST FIRST understand that which is revealed at the beginning.  This is the KEY.  Only then can an individual be in a position to move forward and properly understand the remainder.

“Was” or “Became”

It would go without saying that there has been a great deal of controversy over the years among theologians and Christians in general concerning exactly how the opening two chapters of Genesis should be understood.  And it would also go without saying that, as a result, confusion has reigned supreme in Christian circles concerning not only these chapters but the general tenor of the remainder of Scripture as well.

There are actually two major schools of thought surrounding these two opening chapters, though there are a number of variations within that are held by those in each school.

Those in one school (probably the position held by the majority today) view the six days in the first chapter as time revealing and describing God’s creative activity from verse one.

And those in the other school view these six days as time revealing God’s restoration of a ruined creation (creation seen in Genesis 1:1, a ruin of this creation seen in Genesis 1:2a, and God’s restoration of the ruined creation seen in Genesis 1:2b ff).

Then there is a variation of the second school, which is held by quite a few individuals and could be looked upon as a third school of thought.  Those holding to this view see Genesis 1:1 as other than an absolute beginning.  They see this verse as an opening statement dealing with restoration, not creation.  That is, they see the verse dealing, not with God’s creation of the heavens and the earth in an absolute sense (as most view the verse), but with the beginning of God’s restoration (reforming, remolding, refashioning) of a previously perfect creation that had been reduced to a ruin (with the creation of the heavens and the earth per se not seen in these opening verses).

Much of the controversy surrounding these different views is centered in the linguistics of verse two.  Grammarians go back to the Hebrew text and deal with two areas, and good Hebrew grammarians reach different conclusions in both realms:

1) The relationship of the three circumstantial clauses that form the Genesis 1:2 to that which is stated in Genesis 1:1.

2) The meaning of the Hebrew word hayah in Genesis 1:2 (translated “was”).

1.  The Three Circumstantial Clauses

The three circumstantial clauses in Genesis 1:2 are simply the clauses that form the verse:

1) The earth was without form, and void;

2) and darkness was on the face of the deep.

3) And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

In the Hebrew text there is what is called a “waw” beginning verse two (a conjunctive or disjunctive particle [actually, a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the waw, prefixed to a word], usually translated “and” in most English texts).  Some grammarians view this particle beginning verse two in a conjunctive sense (showing a connection between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2), and other grammarians view it in a disjunctive sense (showing a separation between v. 1 and v. 2).

(The other two circumstantial clauses in Genesis 1:2 begin with “waw” as well, which will be discussed later.

The Hebrew text of the Old Testament uses the “waw” more frequently in a conjunctive [“and”] rather than a disjunctive [“but”] sense.  Of the approximately 28,000 usages of this particle, some 25,000 appear to be conjunctive and some 3,000 disjunctive.  Normally the context determines how the particle is to be understood.)

Those viewing the “waw” prefixed to the word beginning Genesis 1:2 in a conjunctive sense would usually see the three circumstantial clauses as inseparably connected with Genesis 1:1, and those viewing the “waw” in a disjunctive sense would, instead, see a separation between these two verses.

If there is an inseparable connection of the clauses in verse two with verse one (in a conjunctive sense), and verse one describes an absolute beginning in relation to the heavens and the earth (God’s actual creation of the heavens and the earth in the beginning), then verse two would have to describe how God created the earth in the beginning (i.e., “without form, and void”). 

Understanding the structure of the Hebrew text after this fashion would necessitate viewing that which is described at the beginning of verse two as the condition of the earth at the time of the action described in verse one.  That is to say, God would have initially created the earth (Genesis 1:1) in the condition described in Genesis 1:2.  Then the six subsequent days would have to be looked upon as time in which God, step by step, performed and completed His work of creation introduced in verse one.

The preceding view of the structure of the Hebrew text is the main reason for the position held by some that Genesis 1:1 describes the beginning of God’s restorative work rather than an absolute beginning.  Those holding this view see the three circumstantial clauses in verse two as inseparably connected with verse one.  But they also see that Scripture teaches a subsequent ruin of the earth following God’s creation of the heavens and the earth in the beginning (e.g., cf. Genesis 1:2 and Isaiah 45:18 [the Hebrew word tohu, translated “without form” in Genesis 1:2 is translated “in vain” in Isaiah 45:18; and this verse in Isaiah specifically states that God did not create the earth tohu, i.e., after the fashion in which it is seen in Genesis 1:2]).

Thus, those who see God’s perfect creation undergoing a subsequent ruin but also view the three circumstantial clauses in verse two as inseparably connected with verse one (in a conjunctive sense) are, in a respect, forced into a particular position concerning the interpretation of the opening verses of Genesis.  They are forced into the position of seeing the actual creation of the heavens and the earth, and also the ruin of the heavens and the earth, as occurring at a time prior to Genesis 1:1, events which they would see as not being dealt with per se in the opening verses of Scripture at all.

Then there are those grammarians who see the “waw” prefixed to the word beginning verse two as disjunctive.  These grammarians would understand this Hebrew “waw” in a similar sense to the way in which the Greek word de is used in the New Testament (normally disjunctive), as opposed to the Greek word kai (the word usually used to show a conjunctive sense).  In this respect, the translators of the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) used de to translate the first “waw” in what was apparently meant to be a disjunctive sense beginning Genesis 1:2 (with the conjunctive kai used to translate the remaining two “waws” prefixed to the words beginning the other two circumstantial clauses in the verse).

Using the King James Version (KJV) text to illustrate, the translators of the Septuagint used de and kai to translate the three Hebrew “waws” in this manner:

And [De, lit., But] the earth was without form, and void; and [kai] darkness was upon the face of the deepAnd [kai] the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And, viewing the verse beginning in a disjunctive sense of the preceding nature, there would be no connection between the first two verses of Genesis.  Rather, a separation would exist instead.  Within this view, one would normally see verse one revealing an absolute beginning, with verse two (along with the following verses) revealing events occurring at later points in time.

(Most holding this linguistic view see Genesis 1:2 as a description of God’s perfect creation [from Genesis 1:1] being brought into a ruined state, separated from verse one by an unrevealed period of time.  And they would, accordingly, see God’s activity during the six days as activity surrounding the restoration of this ruined creation.

Some holding this linguistic view though still see the six days as time revealing God’s creative activity.  They view verse one as describing a “grand summary declaration that God created the universe in the beginning.”  Then, apart from seeing a connection between v. 1 and v. 2, they view God’s activity during the six days as a revelation concerning how God accomplished that which He had previously stated in verse one.)

2. The Hebrew Word “Hayah

Hayah is the Hebrew word translated “was” in most English versions of Genesis 1:2 (“The earth was. . . .”). The word is found twenty-seven times throughout Genesis 1 and about 3,570 times in the entire Old Testament.

The etymology of the word is somewhat questionable (most look at the probable primary meaning of hayah as “falling” or “to fall”).  Hebrew scholars though see the word used over and over in the Old Testament in the sense of “to be,” “to become,” or “to come to pass.”  And by attempting to trace the etymology of the word, comparing Hebrew with Arabic (a related Semitic language), and seeing how the word is used in the Old Testament, many scholars have come to look upon the word in the sense of a verb ofbeing” (“to be”).  But scholars also recognize that it is not completely accurate to equate the word with the English verb of being after this fashion.

The word is translated different ways in English versions — e.g., “was” or “were” (Genesis 1:2-3, 5, 7- 9, 13, etc.), “be” (Genesis 1:3, 6, 14, 29, etc.), “became [or, ‘to become’]” (Genesis 2:7, 10; 3:22, etc.).  But that’s in English versions.  In the Latin Vulgate there are thirteen instances where hayah has been translated in the sense of “became” in Genesis 1 alone; and in the Septuagint there are twenty-two such instances in this one chapter (out of the twenty-seven times hayah appears in Genesis 1).

The first use of hayah in Scripture is in Genesis 1:2 — the verse being discussed.  But going beyond this verse for a moment, note how the word is used elsewhere in chapter one.

Hayah appears twice in Genesis 1:3, translated “be” and “was.” And translating, “Let light be [or ‘become’]: and light became,” would actually best convey the thought of that which occurred.

Then note Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.  The word hayah appears two times in the latter part of each verse (both translated in a combined sense in the English text by the one word, “were”).  Translating literally from the Hebrew, using “was” in the translation, the text would read, “. . . And there was evening and there was morning, [comprising] the first day . . . the second day . . . the third day,” etc.

Actually though, “became” would really better convey the thought surrounding that which occurred, for evening and morning came to pass, “became,” comprising each of the six different days.

(Leupold, a Hebrew grammarian from past years, in his commentary on Genesis, appears to capture the overall thought of hayah to mark beginning and/or ending points in each day quite well by translating, “. . . Then came evening, then came morning — the first day the second day . . . the third day,” etc.)

Then note the words, “. . . and it was so,” at the end of Genesis 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30.  “Was” in each reference is a translation of the word hayah, and it is easy to see that “became” rather than “was” would really provide a better description of that which occurred in each instance, translating, “. . . and it became so” (cf. “Let there be [a translation of hayah] . . . .” [Genesis 1:3, 6, 14]).

Though hayah has been translated “was,” “were,” or “be” throughout the first chapter of Genesis, the word is actually used mainly throughout this chapter in the sense of “be,” “became,” or “had become.”

Attention is called to this fact because numerous individuals look at translating hayah “became [or ‘had become’]” as so rare in the Old Testament that serious consideration should not be given to the thought of translating Genesis 1:2, “And [or ‘But’] the earth became [or ‘had become’] . . . .” But the rarity is in the English translations, not in a literal Hebrew rendering or in certain other translations (e.g., in the King James Version there are only 17 instances in all of Genesis where hayah has been translated “became [or, 'become']," Genesis 2:7, 10; 3:22; 9:15; 18:18; 19:26; 20:12; 21:20; 24:67; 32:10; 34:16; 37:20; 47:20, 26; 48:19; but in the Septuagint there are at least 146 instances [and some 1,500 in the entire Old Testament]).

3. The Hebrew Text Alone

Can linguistic questions surrounding the first two verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2) be resolved from the Hebrew text alone?  Can one determine from the Hebrew text alone whether the “waw” beginning verse two should be understood as conjunctive or disjunctive?  Or can one determine from the Hebrew text alone how the word hayah should be translated in verse two?  Or can one determine from the Hebrew structure of verse two alone how the remainder of the first chapter should be understood in an overall sense?

Some Hebrew scholars would answer in the affirmative.  But, because of the different ways a number of Hebrew scholars view the matter at hand, using the Hebrew text alone, the issue could only be resolved within their minds and possibly within the minds of others who follow their same line of reasoning.  And note that the issue would be resolved by different scholars after entirely different fashions, all based on their understanding of the grammatical structure of the Hebrew text.

However, there is another way to approach the matter; and that other way is to see how the whole of Scripture deals with the issue at hand.  If the whole of Scripture can be shown to support one view alone — which it can — then the correct linguistic understanding of Genesis 1:2 and the corresponding correct interpretation of chapter one can easily and unquestionably be demonstrated.

This is not to say that Genesis 1:2 or the first chapter of Genesis as a whole cannot be understood correctly apart from first going to the remainder of Scripture, for that cannot be the case.  God would not have begun His revelation to man after a fashion that man could not have understood apart from subsequent revelation (requiring approx. 1,500 years to complete). 

But this is to say that the correct linguistic position for Genesis 1:2 and the correct corresponding interpretation of the entire chapter — which can be shown by going to the remainder of Scripture — is a position that God would have expected man to see as evident when he began reading at this point in Genesis, though man many times has not done so (past) and does not do so (present).

Thus, in this respect, knowledge of the way in which the Hebrew text is structured is really not going to resolve the issue at hand.  And time has been spent in the Hebrew construction of Genesis 1:2 and other related passages, not in an attempt to resolve the issue, but to demonstrate two basic things:

1) There are good, reputable Hebrew scholars who hold varying views on the opening verses of Genesis, which are many times based strictly on their understanding of the structure of the Hebrew text, apart from contextual considerations.

2) Though the linguistics of the Hebrew text (within the different ways scholars understand the linguistics of the text) will support any one of these views, all but one are out of line with the remainder of Scripture and are, consequently, wrong.

That is to say, though it may be possible to support different views from the structure of the Hebrew text alone (the way different scholars understand the syntax of the Hebrew text), different views cannot be supported when the remainder of Scripture is taken into consideration — with or without the Hebrew text.  Scripture will support only one view, and that one view is the position alluded to in the opening portion of this chapter.

Scripture will support:

1) “Creation” (an absolute creation [Genesis 1:1]).

2) “Ruin” of the creation (which means that the “waw” prefixed to the word beginning v. 2 must be understood in a disjunctive sense [“But”], and the Hebrew word hayah must be understood in the sense of “became [or ‘had become’]” [Genesis 1:2a]).

3) “Restoration” of the ruined creation (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

4) “Rest,” following six days of restorative work (Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b]).

And to illustrate this is not difficult at all.  In fact, the opposite is true It is a very simple matter to illustrate, from other Scripture, exactly how the opening verses of Genesis must be understood.

Tohu Wavohu

In this respect, first note the words tohu wavohu from the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:2.

The words tohu wavohu are translated “without form and void” in the KJV English text (“formless and void,” NASB; “formless and empty,” NIV; “waste and void,” ASV).  These two Hebrew words are used together only two other places throughout all of the Old Testament — in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23.  And both of these passages present a ruin of that previously seen existing in an orderly state.

In Isaiah 34:11, “Edom” (Isaiah 34:5-6), representing all nations in the future Lord’s Day (Isaiah 34:2, 8), was destined to become tohu wavohu (translated “confusion” and “emptiness” [KJV], “desolation” and “emptiness” [NASB]).

And in Jeremiah 4:23-28, there is a comparison of that which had previously occurred relative to the earth in Genesis 1:2a to that which was about to occur relative to the land of Israel.

The land of Israel was about to become tohu wavohu.  That is, as seen in Jeremiah 4:23-28, God was about to do the same thing to the land of Israel (cf. Jeremiah 4:14-22) that He had previously done to the earth in Genesis 1:2a.  And the reason for both of these actions — that which God had done to the earth, and that which He was about to do to the land of Israel — was the same.  Sin had entered (sin on the part of Satan in the former, and sin on the part of the Jewish people in the latter). 

And, in complete keeping with this type of understanding of the use of tohu wavohu in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23, Isaiah 45:18 (where the Hebrew word tohu is used, translated “in vain”) clearly states that God did not create the earth (in Genesis 1:1) in the manner described in Genesis 1:2a.  Isaiah 45:18 states that God “created it [the earth] not in vain [not ‘tohu,’ not ‘without form,’].” 

Thus, if Genesis 1:2a is to be understood in the light of related Scripture bearing on the subject (which it must be [cf. Psalm12:6; Isaiah 8:20; 28:10; 1 Corinthians 2:13]), there can be only one possible interpretation — the ruin of a prior existing creation (from Genesis 1:1), because of sin.  The earth from verse one “became” tohu wavohu.

The ruin seen in both Genesis 1:2a and Jeremiah 4:23, for a purpose, is with a view to eventual restoration.  And the restoration seen in the continuing text of Genesis 1:2 (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]) and in the overall passage of Jeremiah 4:23ff (Jeremiah 4:27b), as well as in related Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 35:1ff), is also for a purpose. 

Then, the whole of subsequent Scripture is perfectly in line with this type of understanding of the opening section of Scripture.  The whole of subsequent Scripture is built on a septenary structure, with the foundation established and set in an unchangeable fashion at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

That is to say:

The heavens and the earth were created, there was ruin of the material creation (because of sin), God took six days to restore the ruined creation, and He rested the seventh day. (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

Man was created on the sixth day, man fell into a state of ruin (because of sin), God is presently taking six days [6,000 years] to restore man, and God will rest the seventh day (the seventh 1,000-year period [cf. 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8]).

And the latter restoration, patterned after the former restoration, is what the whole of Scripture is about.  The whole of Scripture is about the same thing initially introduced and established in an unchangeable fashion in the opening thirty-four verses of Genesis 1:1-2:3.  The whole of Scripture is about the creation of man, his ruin, his restoration over a six-day period (over a 6,000-year period), followed by a seventh day of rest (a seventh 1,000-year period — the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God [Hebrew 4:9; cf. Hebrew 4:3-4], the Messianic Era).

As previously stated, man would have been expected to understand this opening section of Scripture after the preceding fashion at the time it was written.  And subsequent Scripture simply verifies the correctness of the way man would have been expected to understand this opening section at that time, apart from other revelation.

Days in Scripture

The structure of God’s revelation to man will be set forth briefly under three headings, and material discussed under these three headings will relate specifically to how particular sections of Scripture handle the matter at hand.  Then attention will be called to other related Scriptures outside these sections to better present the overall picture from the whole of Scripture.

1. The Sign of the Sabbath

The Sabbath was given to Israel as a sign, and the Sabbath was to be observed by the Jewish people “throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant” (Exodus 31:16).  In this respect, God stated concerning the Sabbath,

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever:  for in six days the LORD made heavens and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:17)

When giving the Sabbath to Israel (cf. Exodus 20:11) or referring to the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 4:4-9), in each instance, for a very good reason, God called attention to that which had occurred in Genesis 1; 2. 

There is a latter work of restoration, followed by rest, which is based on a former work of restoration, followed by rest; and the Sabbath was given to the Jewish people to keep this thought ever before them.

That is, though the sign of the Sabbath concerned a present work and future rest, it was based on a past work and rest.  God worked six days to restore a ruined creation in the opening chapter of Genesis; and on the sixth day, along with the completion of His work of restoration, He brought man into existence to rule over the restored material creation.  Then God rested on the seventh day.

But a ruin ensued once again.  Man, an entirely new creation in the universe, fell; and, as a result, the restored material creation was brought under a curse (Genesis 3:17), leaving God with two ruined creations: man, and the material creation.

With that in mind, how did God, in the Genesis account, set about to restore these two ruined creations?  The answer is not only clearly revealed but it is also very simple.

According to Scripture, God set about to restore the subsequent ruined creations in exactly the same manner as He had restored the former ruined creation in the opening chapter of Genesis.  God set about to restore the two subsequent ruined creations over a six-day period (in keeping with Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]); and, in keeping with Genesis 2:2-3, following His restoration work, God would then rest on the seventh day.

The latter restoration must occur in complete keeping with the former restoration.  A divinely-designed pattern had been set in the former restoration — a pattern set perfect in the beginning, which, accordingly, could never change.

Thus, the latter restoration must occur over a six-day period.  And this six-day period of restorative work must, as the former, be followed by a day of rest.

From a biblical standpoint, it is not possible for the matter to occur in a different manner.  And the Sabbath, following six days of work, was given to Israel to keep the thought ever before the Jewish people that, in accord with the opening verses of Genesis, God was going to once again rest for one day following six days of work to effect the restoration of that which is presently in a ruined state (both man and the material creation).

The Sabbath was a “sign,” and a sign in Scripture points to something beyond itself.  This “sign,” the Sabbath, points to a seventh-day rest that God will enter into with His people (“the people of Godin Hebrews 4:9) following six previous days of restorative work.

Each day in the former restoration and rest was twenty-four hours in length, but each day in the latter restoration and rest is revealed to be one thousand years in length (2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:3-8; cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5).  Based on the pattern set forth in Genesis 1; 2, God is going to work for six thousand years during the present restoration and then rest the seventh one-thousand-year period.

Scripture begins by laying the basis for this septenary arrangement of time in the opening verses (Genesis 1:1-2:3).  Then, accordingly, this is something which is seen throughout Scripture (Exodus 31:13-17; Numbers 19:12; Hosea 5:15-6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 17:1; Luke 24:21; John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1; 5:9; 9:14; 11:6-7; Hebrews 4:1, 4, 9).  And the matter is then brought to a conclusion in Revelation 20, where the 1,000-year Messianic Era is mentioned six times (Revelation 20:2-7), immediately prior to the eternal ages that are seen to follow (Revelation 21; 22).

Scripture deals with 7,000 years of time — time extending from the restoration of the earth and the creation of man to the end of the Messianic Kingdom.  Scripture has very little to say about what occurred prior to these 7,000 years, and it also has very little to say about what will occur following these 7,000 years.  Scripture is built on this septenary arrangement of time, which is based on the opening two chapters of Genesis; and this is an evident fact which must be recognized if one would correctly understand God’s redemptive plans and purposes that He has revealed in His Word.

2. The Signs in John’s Gospel

The gospel of John is built around eight signs; and, as in the sign of the Sabbath, the signs in this gospel point to things beyond the signs themselves.

It is the Jews who require a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22); and these signs, taken from numerous signs that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry, are directed (as was His ministry in that day) to the Jewish people.

Jesus performed such signs for one central purpose:

. . . that you [the Jews] might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name. (John 20:30-31; cf. John 2:11; 5:46-47; 6:14, 21; 11:45).

Seven of the eight signs in the gospel of John were performed in connection with particular days, all in perfect keeping with one another, all in perfect keeping with the sign of the Sabbath, and all in perfect keeping with the septenary arrangement of Scripture.  And all of the signs refer, after different fashions, to the same thing.  They all refer to things surrounding Israel’s coming salvation and restoration, which will occur after six days (after 6,000 years), in the seventh day (in the seventh 1,000-year period).

The first sign, in John 2:1-11, has to do with Jesus turning the water in six water pots to wine (“six,” man’s number; the water pots made from the earth, as man; filled with water [the Word]; and through divine intervention a change ensues).  This sign, pointing to the future salvation and restoration of Israel as the wife of Jehovah, occurred on the seventh day (John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1), which is when Israel will enter into these experiences foreshadowed by the sign.

The second sign, in John 4:40-54, has to do with the healing of a nobleman’s son. This sign occurred after Jesus had spent two days with the Samaritans, on the third day (John 4:40, 43). It will be after two days visiting “the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name,” that on the third day Jesus will return to the Jewish people to effect healing for the nation (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2; Acts 15:14-18).

The third sign, in John 5:1-9, also had to do with healing, with a man being healed at a particular time.  This healing occurred after thirty-eight years, on the Sabbath (John 5:5, 9).  The reference (drawn from an Old Testament type) would be to the healing of the nation through the second generation of Israelites being allowed to enter the land under Joshua after thirty-eight years (dating from the overthrow at Kadesh-Barnea [Deuteronomy 2:14]). 

And both the sign and type would foreshadow the same future event.  They would both point to that future time when the nation will be healed and will be allowed to enter the land under Christ, an event that will occur on the seventh day, the Sabbath.

The fourth sign, in John 6:1-14, has to do with bread being provided for the multitudes; and the sign occurred in connection with the Passover (John 6:4).  Jesus is that “bread of life” that will be provided for the nation yet future (John 6:35), and the Passover is the festival in Leviticus 23 that has to do with the future salvation of Israel, when the nation will receive the true “bread of life.”

Israel has slain the Lamb (cf. Exodus 12:6; Acts 2:36; 3:14-15), but the nation has yet to appropriate the blood (cf. Exodus 12:7, 13; Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26).  The Passover, the first of seven Jewish festivals outlining a prophetic calendar and sequence of events in relation to Israel, will be fulfilled in that coming day when Israel does appropriate the blood.  And this will then be followed by a continued supernatural provision for the nation, exactly as foreshadowed by the sign.

The fifth sign, in John 6:15-21, has to do with Christ’s departure, a storm, His return, the disciples’ attitude toward Him at this time, and the geographical location in which they subsequently found themselves.  It points to Christ’s departure from Israel two thousand years ago (John 6:15), the coming Tribulation (John 6:16-18), Christ’s return (John 6:19-20), the nation receiving Him (John 6:21a), and the nation's restoration to the land (John 6:21b).  This is the only sign not providing a specific reference to particular days, but the chronology must be understood in the light of the other six signs.

The sixth sign, in John 9:1-41, has to do with the healing of a blind man, on the Sabbath day (John 9:14).  This points to Israel’s future deliverance from her blindness (Romans 11:25), which will occur on the seventh day, the Sabbath.  Or, as in Luke 24:13-31, it will occur after two days (dating from the crucifixion), on the third day (Luke 24:21).

The seventh sign, in John 11:1-44, has to do with the resurrection of Lazarus.  This resurrection occurred after Jesus had been out of the land of Judea two days, on the third day (John 11:6-7), after Lazarus had lain in the grave four days (John 11:17).  This points to Israel’s future resurrection (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Daniel 12:2) after two days, on the third day; and at this time Israel will have been in the place of death four days, dating four millennia back to Abraham.

The eighth sign, in John 20:1-29, has to do with Christ’s resurrection, after two days, on the third day.  This sign pints to that coming third day, dating from the crucifixion, when not only Israel but all of God’s firstborns (Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption]) will be raised up to live in His sight, which will be after two days, on the third day.

3. The Structure of 2 Peter

Second Peter parallels Jude in the sense that both deal with the Word of the Kingdom and apostasy after a similar fashion.

Both epistles begin the same way.  2 Peter 1 is taken up with that which is stated in one verse in Jude 1:3).  Then the matter of apostasy is dealt with throughout most of the remainder of both epistles.  However, there are things dealt with in 2 Peter 1; 3, showing the septenary structure of the epistle, which are not dealt with at all in Jude.

Peter exhorts his readers to make their “calling [pertaining to the kingdom] and election [‘selection’ for a position of power and authority in the kingdom] sure” (2 Peter 1:1-15); and Jude states the same thing in Jude 1:3 when he exhorts his readers to “earnestly contend for [‘earnestly strive (Greek: epagonizomai, meaning to earnestly strain every muscle of one’s being) with respect to’] the faith” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7-8).  Then the thought of apostasy relative to “the faith” comes into view in both epistles.

However, Peter does something that Jude does not do.  Before beginning his dissertation on apostasy he calls attention to that which occurred on the Mount in Matthew 17:1-8 (2 Peter 1:16-18), which has to do with the Son of Man coming in His kingdom, after six days, on the seventh day (cf. Matthew 16:28-17:1).

Then toward the end of his epistle, Peter, unlike Jude, moves from thoughts surrounding apostasy to thoughts surrounding the existence and subsequent destruction of the heavens and the earth at two different times.

a) At a time following the creation of the heavens and the earth (“the heavens . . . of old” and “the world that then was [the world existing at the time of ‘the heavens . . . of old’ (in Genesis 1:1, not during the days of Noah)]” [2 Peter 3:5-6]).

b) At a time following the restoration of the heavens and the earth (“the heavens and the earth that are now,” existing since the restoration in Genesis 1:2-25 {2b} [2 Peter 3:7]).

The destruction of the former is seen in Genesis 1:2a (“But the earth had become without form, and void; and darkness [the sun had ceased to give its light] was upon the face of the deep [the raging waters]”), and the destruction of the latter — destruction by fire — is seen in succeeding verses in 2 Peter (2 Peter 3:10ff).

Peter then draws the entire matter to a climax by stating,

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

Understood contextually (2 Peter 3:3-7), the verse is self-explanatory.  “The heavens and the earth, which are now” (2 Peter 3:7) must cover the entire septenary period from chapter one (2 Peter 1:16-18), else 2 Peter 3:8 would be meaningless.  And each day in this period is revealed to be one thousand years in length — six millennia of work, followed by one millennium of rest, based on the opening verses of Genesis.

(Note one thing about the restoration in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b] that should be understood.  This restoration could only have been a complete restoration.  No trace of “the world that then was” [the world preceding the ruin seen in Genesis 1:2a], or the subsequent ruined earth [in Genesis 1:2a], can be seen in “the heavens and the earth, which are now.”

A complete restoration would have removed all traces of anything having to do with “the world that then was” or with that world during that time when it lay in a ruined state.  That is to say, geology today cannot show evidence of any type of pre-existing creation or a ruin of that pre-existing creation, for a complete restoration — the only type of restoration possible through the divine work seen in Genesis chapter one — would have removed all traces of a pre-existing creation and ruin.

In this respect, all that exists in the present secular world of history and science — e.g., the complete fossil record, the dinosaurs, topographical formations such as the Grand Canyon, etc. — would all have to be placed on this side of the restoration seen in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b], within time covered by “the heavens and the earth, which are now.”

That which occurred during and which resulted from the Noachian Flood, 1656 years following the restoration of the earth (Genesis 6; 7; 8), along with later topographical changes on the earth during the days of Peleg [born 100 years after the Flood (Genesis 10:25), must be looked to for an explanation of numerous things of the preceding nature, not to a world lying in ruins in Genesis 1:2a, or to a world existing prior to that time.)

Concluding Remarks

Viewing the whole of Scripture, the correct interpretation of the opening verses of Genesis can be clearly and unquestionably presented through:

1) The manner in which the Hebrew words from Genesis 1:2a, tohu wavohu, are used elsewhere in Scripture (interpreting Scripture in the light of Scripture [Isaiah 34:11; 45:18; Jeremiah 4:23]).

2) And through the typical nature of Old Testament history (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11), which has been set forth in a very evident divinely established septenary arrangement.

And these opening verses, providing the divinely established basis for that which follows, must be understood accordingly.

The Bible is a book of redemption; and only a correct view of the opening verses of Genesis can reflect positively, at the very outset, on God’s redemptive message as a whole — the restoration of a ruined creation, performed in its entirety through divine intervention, for a revealed purpose.

An incorrect view, on the other hand, can only have negative ramifications.  Creation alone, apart from a ruin and restoration of the creation, fails to convey the complete message at the outset of the Word; and Restoration alone (viewing the opening verse as other than an absolute beginning), apart from a record of the preceding creation and ruin, likewise fails to convey the complete message at this opening point in Scripture.

It is as F. W. Grant stated years ago relative to the existing parallel between the creation and ruin of the earth and the subsequent creation and ruin of man:

“The thought of a ruined condition of the earth succeeding its original creation . . . is . . . required by the typical view [that is, the earth’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration forms a type of (foreshadows) man’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration].”

Accordingly, the opening verses of Genesis cannot deal strictly with Creation; nor can these verses deal strictly with Restoration. Either view would be out of line with the whole of Scripture, beginning with the central theme of Scripture, the message of redemption.

The only interpretative view that will fit — at all points — within the divinely established septenary arrangement of Scripture (which has it basis in these opening verses) is:

Creation (an absolute beginning, and a perfect creation [Genesis 1:1]).

A Ruin of the Creation (Genesis 1:2a).

A Restoration of the Ruined Creation (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

Rest (in the type — six twenty-four-hour days of restorative work, followed by a twenty-four-hour day of rest; in the antitype — six 1,000-year days of restorative work, followed by a 1,000-year day of rest [Genesis 1:2-2:3 {2b}]).

3)  Beginning and Continuing

The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.

And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD!

Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.

I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.’”  (Ezekiel 37:1-6)

Ezekiel 37 has to do with the future restoration of “the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11) following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation.  “The whole house of Israel” will be comprised of both the Jews who died in the faith during Old Testament days (the dead [resurrected] return with the living [Exodus 13:19]) and Jews living at the time Christ returns (saved through His personal appearance, at which time, through the use of the Old Testament Scriptures, He will reveal Himself to the nation [cf. Luke 24:16, 25-31]).

Apart from viewing the bones as very dry and lifeless, events in Ezekiel 37 have nothing to do with events in the Middle East prior to the time of Christ’s return, for Israel must remain “dead” during the entire two days (2,000 years) preceding that time and be raised only on the third day (the third 1,000-year period).  That is to say, “breath” — the requirement for life, which comes only from God — cannot be imparted to the nation until the third day (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2; Luke 24:21; John 11:6-7, 25, 39-44).

The preceding has to do with the primary interpretation of Ezekiel 37.  But all Scripture, along with a primary interpretation, will invariably have secondary applications.  And it is within the realm of secondary applications that this chapter will concern itself.

This chapter will center on basics surrounding the proper way and place to begin and continue a study of the Word of God.  And, insofar as its connection with Ezekiel 37 is concerned, it will have to do with bones (forming a skeletal framework), that which covers the bones (sinews [nerves, tendons], flesh, and skin), and breath (that which gives life).

Through a secondary application, Ezekiel 37 will be used to illustrate the proper way to begin and continue a study of the Word of God.

The structure of the Word — i.e., the entire layout of the Word, from beginning to end — can be likened unto the human anatomy after the preceding fashion.  And this is not pressing an issue.  God uses the human anatomy numerous places in Scripture to set forth spiritual truths.

Beginning in Genesis 2, Adam was put to sleep, and God removed that portion of Adam’s body that He used to bring Eve into existence.  This foreshadowed Christ’s death and the subsequent removal of the element from Christ’s body, blood and water, which God would use to bring Christ’s bride into existence (cf. Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 1:18).  Or in the text from Ezekiel 37, the human anatomy is used to describe how God will one day bring about the restoration of “the whole house of Israel.”

And in the New Testament, the relationship of Christ to the Church is depicted as the relationship of the Head to the body, with individual Christians likened to different parts of the body, possessing different functions (1 Corinthians 12:12ff; Ephesians 5:22-30).  Then, in a matter closely aligned with the present study, growth in the spiritual realm is likened to growth in the physical realm (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:1-2).

But the preceding, in a sense, is really neither here nor there, for there is a textual connection in Ezekiel 37 within this same realm relative to the Word of God.  And this connection comes through the use of “breath” to bring about life, which takes one back to Genesis 2:7 (the first mention of “breath” in connection with life) and forward to 2 Timothy 3:16 (where Scripture is said to be “God-breathed” [which is what Theopneustos in this verse in the Greek text literally means; refer to 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV, where the word is literally translated]).

And to further strengthen the whole thought, note that God always lays foundations prior to building (cf. Matthew 7:24-27; Hebrews 6:1-6).  He builds only after the foundations have been laid, and He always builds on the foundations.

Then, transfer that same thought over into Ezekiel 37.  Using this chapter to illustrate the point, note that God doesn’t begin with the sinews, flesh, and skin.  Rather, He begins with the bones.  The sinews, flesh, and skin are placed on the bones after the same fashion that a structure is built on its foundation.  And, in that respect, the bones — forming the skeletal framework — would be seen as the foundation.

The Bones

So, the question:  Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?

The question, in connection with the background material, is really self-answering.  Where and how did God begin when He revealed His Word to man?

God began, at the outset of His Word, by setting forth a skeletal framework of the whole panorama of that which He was about to reveal; and His subsequent revelation would be the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the bones forming the skeletal framework.  Or, to state the matter another way, God began, at the outset of His Word, by laying a foundational structure, upon which the whole framework of His revelation to man would subsequently be built.

Now, back to the question, Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?

There’s only one place and one way to begin.

A person must begin at the beginning.  A person must begin where the foundation has been laid.  A person must begin where the skeletal framework has been given.

In short, a person must begin where God began.  If one begins elsewhere, he will have nothing upon which to build the structure; he will have nothing upon which to attach the sinews, flesh, and skin.

And herein lies the very reason for the vast confusion that presently exists in theological circles today.  Christians have failed to begin with the foundational structure.  They do not know and understand the structure of the Word, set forth at the beginning.  And, as a consequence, they have no bones upon which to place the sinews, flesh, and skin; they have no foundation upon which to build.

It Simply Can’t Be Done That Way!

A person doesn’t begin with the gospels (except perhaps John, which parallels Genesis [refer to the Foreword in this book]) or the Pauline or general epistles.  These are not beginning points.  Rather, these parts of Scripture have to do with the structure being built upon the foundation.  These parts of Scripture have to do with the sinews, flesh, and skin being placed on the bones.

The beginning point was given through Moses.  The foundational outline, the skeletal framework, was set forth at the very beginning, in the opening section of Genesis.  And it is here that one must begin if he is to begin correctly.  He must understand the foundational beginning of the matter first if he is to properly understand that which is subsequently built upon the foundation.

(To further complicate matters in Christendom as it exists in the world today, many Bible teachers [probably most], when dealing with Genesis 1, teach that this chapter has to do with creation alone.  Such a teaching destroys the septenary structure and foundational aspects of Scripture at the outset.

Suffice it to say, understanding Genesis 1:1-2:3 any way other than Creation, Ruin, Restoration, and Rest — showing a septenary structure and providing a foundation for all that follows — is not possible if Scripture is allowed to interpret itself by comparing Scripture with Scripture [refer to 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture in this book].)

1)  GENESIS 1:1-2:3

Genesis is the book of beginnings, and the opening verses (Genesis 1:1-2:3) contain the skeletal outline for the whole of Scripture that follows.  These verses cover the whole panorama of Scripture, from beginning to end; and if one understands the foundational outline first, he will then be in a position to place all that follows within a proper perspective in relation to the foundational structure.

That would be to say, if one views the bones that form the skeletal framework after the correct fashion first, then he will be in a position to clothe this framework with all the sinews, flesh, and skin that follow, placing them in their proper positions upon the bones.

However, if one doesn’t see and understand the skeletal framework first, then he will be in no position to properly handle that which follows.  He will not have utilized the God-provided beginning point of reference, which can only negatively affect his knowledge and understanding of how all subsequent Scripture fits together.  He will likely see numerous disconnected verses or disconnected sections of Scripture, for he will not have begun with and understood that which would have allowed him to properly relate these verses or sections to the whole of Scripture.

Thus, two things could be said about the beginning point in Scripture:

1) A person must begin where God began.

2) And a person must, aside from beginning where God began, understand correctly that which God has revealed in these opening verses.

From a biblical standpoint, NOTHING is more important than these two prerequisites in biblical study.

Genesis 1:1-2:3 begins with a simple statement concerning God’s creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  Then disorder is seen entering where only perfect order had previously existed (Genesis 1:2a).  The reason for this disorder is revealed elsewhere in Scripture.  Satan, God’s appointed ruler over the earth, sought to elevate his throne and be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-17).  And, as a result, his kingdom — the province over which he ruled, i.e., the earth (Ezekiel 28:14-16) — was reduced to a ruined state.

In the words of Scripture,

The earth was [lit., ‘But the earth became’] without form, and void; and darkness was [‘became’] on the face of the deep . . . . (Genesis 1:2a)

All of this occurred over 6,000 years ago, during a dateless past.  That’s really all man can know about “time” concerning that which is revealed in Genesis 1:1-2a.  The things revealed in these verses could have occurred over aeons of time or they could have occurred over a relatively short period within one aeon.  We’re simply not told.

The latter part of verse two is where God begins to count time insofar as the revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes are concerned.  The movement of the Spirit of God upon the face of the waters, covering the ruined creation below, marks the beginning point of a six-day period that God used to restore the ruined material creation (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).  Then, at the end of His restorative work on the sixth day, God created man (Genesis 1:26ff).  And on the seventh day God rested from all His work (Genesis 2:1-3).

The preceding is the skeletal framework upon which all subsequent Scripture rests.  The six and seven days foreshadow six and seven thousand years of time (2 Peter 3:3-8; cf. Matthew 17:1ff; 2 Peter 1:15-18); and, with very few exceptions, the whole of Scripture concerns itself with events during these 7,000 years.  Scripture reveals events preceding the 7,000 years (e.g., Genesis 1:1-2a; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11ff) or events following the 7,000 years (e.g., 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1ff) only to an extent that would allow man to properly understand and place events in their proper perspective within the framework of the revealed 7,000 years.

As God worked six days to restore the ruined material creation in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b], He is presently working six days — 6,000 years — to restore two presently ruined creations (ruined man, and the material creation under a curse).  At the end of His restorative work in Genesis, God rested on the seventh day.  And He is going to do exactly the same thing at the end of His restorative work in the present restoration.  At the end of six days — at the end of 6,000 years — He is going to rest for one day once again.  That is, He is going to rest for 1,000 years, the earth’s coming Messianic Era.

Then events outlining God’s activity within the six and seven days in Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b] are fraught with symbolism and meaning.  The skeletal framework is complete within these verses (including Genesis 1:1-2a, for the “Restoration” and “Time” of the restoration, followed by “Rest” [Genesis 1:2b ff], could not be understood apart from the prior revealed “Creation” and “Ruin” of the creation).  Nothing superfluous has been given in these verses.  All is by divine design.

Thus, Genesis 1:1-2:3 provides the skeletal foundation upon which all subsequent Scripture rests, given at the very outset of God’s revelation to man.  And a person reading this revelation must either attach the sinews, flesh, and skin (all subsequent revelation) to these bones (Genesis 1:1-2:3) or lack for a foundation upon which to build, for God has provided no other.

(Again, for a more detailed exposition of Genesis 1:1-2:3 — allowing one to see how the remainder of Scripture must relate to this opening section of Genesis — refer back to 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture of this book.)

2)  FROM MOSES TO JOHN

Scripture can be properly divided into seven parts, each forming a complete section of Scripture:

1) Genesis 1:1-2a
2) Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b]
3) Genesis 2:4-11:25
4) Remainder of the Old Testament and the gospel accounts
5) Acts 1 through Revelation 19
6) Revelation 20:1-10
7) Revelation 20:11-22:21

The first and second divisions, as has been demonstrated, cover the skeletal framework upon which the remainder rests.

The third division covers the first 2,000 years of human history extending from Adam to Abraham.

The fourth division begins with Abraham and covers the next 2,000 years of human history, wherein God called one man out from Ur of the Chaldees to be the channel through which He, from that point forward, would deal with mankind at large.

This fourth division actually ends with the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, at the conclusion of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) — a prophecy forming the concluding 490 years of this 2,000-year period.  But God stopped the clock marking time in this prophecy seven years short of completion, which coincided with Christ’s death — with Messiah being “cut off” in Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:26) — and began an entirely new 2,000-year dispensation.

The fifth division begins with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., in Acts 2, and covers the next 2,000 years, the dispensation that began following the fulfillment of sixty-nine weeks (483 years) in Daniel’s prophecy.  Israel was set aside, the Church was called into existence, and during this time the Spirit of God is taking 2,000 years to call out a bride for God’s Son (in the antitype of that seen in Genesis 24).

Following the Spirit procuring a bride for God’s Son, the Church will be removed, God will resume His national dealings with Israel, and the last seven years of the previous dispensation will be brought to pass.  This period is referred to in Scripture as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and this final seven years of the past dispensation will complete man’s 6000-year day, allowing the Messianic Era to be ushered in, exactly as seen in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy.

(For additional information on these final seven years, refer to the author’s books, The Time of Jacob's Trouble by Arlen Chitwood and The Time of the End.)

The sixth division begins with Messiah’s return following the completion of the full 490 years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy and covers the next 1,000 years of human history.  This will be the long awaited Messianic Era (Revelation 20:1-6), to be immediately followed by certain revealed events (Revelation 20:7-10).

Then the seventh division has to do with the eternal ages that will follow not only the Messianic Era but the revealed events occurring at the end of this era (Revelation 20:11-22:21).

Now, to illustrate how later revelation is inseparably connected with earlier revelation and how any revelation subsequent to Genesis 1:1-2:3 must be inseparably connected with these opening verses of Genesis, note the thousand years mentioned six times in Revelation 20:1-7.  This is not the first time that the thousand years are mentioned in Scripture.  Quite the contrary.  Instead, it is the last time.

The first mention of the thousand years in Scripture is within the skeletal framework set forth at the beginning, in Genesis 2:1-3.  This 1,000-year period comprises the seventh millennium, foreshadowed by the seventh day in the opening verses of Genesis.

Not only that, but the thousand years in Revelation 20:1-7 are mentioned numerous places throughout Scripture, covering the 6,000 years of time preceding the Messianic Era (ref. 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture in this book).  These thousand years are the point in time toward which everything moves, with their repeated mention being a very natural and necessary part of Scripture.

The Sabbath given to Israel was a “sign” concerning this coming millennial day (Exodus 31:13-17).  Every time Israel kept the Sabbath, at the end of six days of work, they were acknowledging that which God had set forth in the foundational framework at the very beginning (Exodus 31:15-17).  They were acknowledging that God was going to work six days in the latter restoration and then rest on the seventh day (exactly as He did in the former).

(The pattern was set perfect in the beginning.  And the latter restoration and rest must follow the former restoration and rest in exact detail, in every respect.

The thousand years in Revelation 20:1-7 [which follow 6,000 years of work] carry exactly the same relationship to Genesis 2:1-3 as the Sabbath given to Israel [which followed six days of work] carried to these verses.  “There remains therefore a rest for [lit., ‘a Sabbath rest for’] the people of God” [Hebrews 4:9; cf. Hebrews 4:4].)

Reference is made to part or all of the six and seven days different places in Scripture, referring to 6,000 and 7,000 years, drawing from Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b] (cf. Numbers 19:11-19; 2 Samuel 1:1-2; Hosea 5:15-6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 16:28-17:5; John 1:29, 35, 43, 2:1; 11:6-7).

Then, beyond that, events surrounding the coming Messianic Era — events occurring during the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period — are mentioned time after time after time throughout Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 2:1-5; 4:1-6; 14:1-8; Jeremiah 30:1-9; 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 37:1ff; Matthew 24:30-31; Acts 15:14-18; Romans 11:25-26).

It will be in that day that the blessings of Genesis 12:2-3 will be realized in their fullness by both Israel and the nations; it will be in that day that Christ will exercise the Melchizedek priesthood, blessing the descendants of Abraham, both heavenly and earthly (Genesis 14:18-19); it will be in that day that God will restore Israel to her rightful place (Genesis 25:1ff); it will be in that day that Christ and His co-heirs will rule the earth from a heavenly realm in the stead of Satan and his angels (cf. Revelation 2:26-27; 4:10-11; 5:8-10; 11:15); and it will be in that day that the seed of Abraham, both heavenly and earthly, will “possess the gate of [i.e., exercise regal power over]” the enemy (Genesis 22:17-18).

And on and on one could go with that which God has revealed in His Word about that coming seventh day.

It is all as Nathaniel West said over one hundred years ago in his book, The Thousand Years in Both Testaments by Nathaniel West:

“What we find in the New Testament as its outcome in respect to the ages and the kingdom, has already lain in the bosom of the Old Testament from the beginning . . . . 

Nothing appears in the later revelation that was not hid in the earlier, nothing in John that was not in Moses . . . .  If we study the eschatology of the Old Testament, we will find the Eschata there identical with the Eschata of the New Testament, and the Eschatology of both Testaments the same . . . if ‘the thousand years’ are not in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets, they have no right to be in John.”

Accordingly, any study of the thousand years cannot possibly begin with that which God has revealed in Revelation 20:1-7.  Rather, a study of this nature must, of necessity, begin with that which God has revealed in Genesis 2:1-3.  Revelation 20:1-7 forms the capstone to the matter.  This section of Scripture covers in very brief form that which the prophets have previously covered in great detail

And only the simple statement need be made at this concluding point, for all the details have already been given.  The whole matter is really that simple if one remains within the scope of the manner in which God has structured His revelation to man, as revealed at the beginning.

Sinews, Flesh, Skin

Once God had set forth the skeletal structure of Scripture at the beginning, He then began to place upon the structure that which could only be considered as foundational sinews, flesh, and skin. 

And, in this respect, the importance of seeing and understanding the proper relationship of the section that immediately follows to, the preceding skeletal structure cannot be overemphasized.

God began to build upon the structure, and that which He set forth at the beginning forms unchangeable patterns, molds, etc.  And all subsequent Scripture must not only attach itself in a natural manner after some fashion to the skeletal structure but it must also be in perfect accord with all subsequent foundational material.

Some have sought to see within the first eleven chapters of Genesis all the major biblical doctrines throughout Scripture set forth in foundational form; and that may very well be true, though the issue will not be pressed.

Rather, that which will be pressed is the importance of that which is set forth at the beginning.  Not only is unchangeable, foundational material given — material that one must understand to properly understand subsequent Scripture — but that which is uppermost in God’s thoughts can be seen in these verses. 

That is, if man wants to see that which God considers to be of primary importance, he will find it at the outset of God’s revelation to man.  And the importance of this fact is very simple:

That which is uppermost in God’s mind at the beginning remains uppermost in His mind throughout the remainder of Scripture.

The preceding is not to say that God’s revelation to man in Genesis 2:4-11:25, covering the first 2,000 years of human history, is more important than His revelation following this point, covering subsequent history.  One part of Scripture cannot be placed above another part in this respect.  The foundation is important, and the structure is important.

A foundation by itself would be incomplete and of little value; and a structure must be built upon a foundation, else it would be unstable or it would collapse.  The foundation and structure together form a stable, complete building.

That which is being stated and emphasized has to do with the importance of understanding both the foundational structure and the foundational material built on the structure, for, apart from this, a stable building cannot be erected.  That is, for a stable, well-built structure one must have a building that has been erected on a solid foundation, after a careful fashion.

1)  GENESIS 2:4-11:25

God began His revelation to man in the third section of Scripture (Genesis 2:4ff) by showing how He had brought certain things to pass from the first two sections (Genesis 1:1-2a and Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b]).  Everything in Genesis 2:4-25 forms commentary material on that which had preceded.

Genesis 2:4 is an overview of Genesis 1, Genesis 2:5-6 cover events occurring on the second day, Genesis 2:7 covers events occurring on the sixth day, Genesis 2:8-14 cover events occurring on the third day, and Genesis 2:15-25 cover events occurring on the sixth day (with Genesis 2:19 relating to events on both the fifth and sixth days).

And, if a person wants to see where God places an emphasis very early in His revelation, that person might note the space given to the formation of Eve and her relationship to Adam (Genesis 2:18, 20-25).  Details surrounding a portion of that which was revealed in Genesis 1:26-28 are given in this section, and an unchangeable pattern is established.

The bride of the first man, the first Adam, was removed from his body.  She was formed from a part of his body, not from all of his body.  And, once she had been formed, she was presented back to Adam to not only complete Adam but to reign as consort queen with him (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-22).

Thus will it be with the second Man, the last Adam, and His bride.  The bride will be removed from His body (the Church).  She will be formed from a part of His body, not from all of His body.  And, once the bride has been formed, she will be presented back to the second Man, the last Adam, Christ, to not only complete Christ but to reign as consort queen with Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 19:7-8).

Now, note what was done throughout Genesis 2:4-25.  Throughout this section God concerned Himself with placing foundational sinews, flesh, and skin on the skeletal structure previously revealed.  And the foundational material set forth here can no more subsequently be changed than can the beginning skeletal structure itself.  All later revelation must be in perfect accord with all earlier revelation, and vice versa.

Then, Genesis 3 reveals unchangeable foundational truths surrounding man’s fall and subsequent redemption.  The actions of the first Adam establish a pattern, a mold, for the actions of the last Adam; and God’s actions surrounding redemption in this chapter form a pattern, a mold, for His actions surrounding man’s redemption at any future point in time.

Adam found his bride, a part of his very being, in a fallen state; and Adam was left without a choice as to his course of action.  He could not now eat of the tree of life as God had previously commanded, for a part of his very being was in a fallen state (though the fall itself didn’t actually occur until Adam, as the federal head, had eaten of the forbidden fruit [evident from the sequence of events in Genesis 3:6-7]).

Following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam could only cleave to his wife, as God had also previously commanded, placing himself in a fallen state as a complete being; and this would be with a view to redemption, wherein the man, as a complete being, might one day eat of the tree of life.  That would be to say that Adam partook of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, with a view to both one day being able to partake of the tree of life together and, together, fulfilling the purpose for their creation in the beginning (Genesis 2:9, 16, 24).

And the antitype, following the established type, is quite easy to see.  The last Adam found His bride in a fallen state and was made sin to effect her redemption, with a view to exactly the same thing set forth in the type — both one day partaking of the tree of life together and, together, fulfilling the purpose for man’s creation in the beginning (2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 2:7).

(Partaking of the tree of life has to do with the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge to rule and reign [see the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Ch. 5].  Christ Himself, being very God of very God, possesses such knowledge apart from partaking of the tree.  But His bride in that day won’t.  However, as Christ partook of food following His resurrection, He will just as easily be able to partake of the tree of life with His bride should He so choose.)

Then basic unchangeable truths surrounding God’s redemption of man have been established in Genesis 3.  God, rejecting man’s efforts to do anything about his fallen state (i.e., man’s efforts to replace the lost covering of Glory with a covering of fig leaves), slew animals and clothed Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7, 21).  This forever sets forth salvation, restoration, entirely by/through divine intervention, in perfect keeping with how God restored the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b ff — i.e., entirely by/through divine intervention.

Then, in Genesis 3, death and shed blood relative to man’s salvation, restoration, are introduced.  And, with the introduction of shed blood, more foundational material is placed on the skeletal structure.  And beyond this one finds more and more and more . . . .   But all subsequent references to salvation, adding details to the structure, must be in perfect accord with previous revelation, always going back to and beginning with Genesis 1:2b ff.

Beyond Genesis 3, very briefly, Genesis 4 deals with Cain and Abel, setting forth foundational truths surrounding Israel and Christ.  Cain slays Abel; Israel, 4,000 years later, slays Christ.  The blood of Abel cries out “from the ground,” but the blood of Christ speaks “better things” than the blood of Abel (Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).

Genesis 5 forms a genealogical table covering the ten generations from Adam to Noah.  Then there is the Flood in Genesis 6; 7; 8, with a new beginning following the Flood in Genesis 9.  And, in this new beginning, following the destruction of the nations of the earth, Shem, among Noah’s three sons, is the only one revealed to have a God (Genesis 9:26).  This then forms the foundation for God’s subsequent call of Abraham, a descendant of Shem, and the father of the only nation on earth that has a God — the nation of Israel, through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons (cf. Exodus 3:6; Psalm 33:12; 72:18; 96:5).

All of the surrounding Gentile nations are without God, without hope, and can partake of blessings associated with Shem and his God only one way, spelled out in Genesis 9 — by/through dwelling in the tents of Shem (Ephesians 2:11-13).  The Gentile nations must go to Israel, the nation in possession of a God, the nation that brought forth the Messiah.  This is fundamental and primary (cf. Genesis 12:2-3; Jonah 2:9; John 4:22), and the matter is set forth in an unchangeable fashion in the early chapters of Genesis.

The whole of the matter set forth in Genesis 5; 6; 7; 8; 9 has to do with truths surrounding the past dispensation, the present dispensation, the end of the present dispensation, the coming Tribulation (which will comprise the last seven years of the past dispensation), the end of the age, and the Messianic Era.  But viewing these things in the light of Hebrews 11:4-7, which draws from the overall type in Genesis 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9, that which is foreshadowed in the antitype, which is centrally in view, is that period extending from Christ’s crucifixion to His second coming.

Note the order in Hebrews 11:4-7:  Abel (Hebrews 11:4), Enoch (Hebrews 11:5), and Noah (Hebrews 11:7).  These three and no more are listed in the ten-generation genealogy extending from Adam to Noah, and that is for a reason.

The order has to do with,

1) Salvation through shed blood (Abel).
2) The removal of a man from the earth, apart from death, preceding the Flood (Enoch).
3) A man remaining behind and being saved through the Flood (Noah).

Thus, these three things have to do with:

1) Man’s salvation (dealt with in Genesis 1; 3; 4 at the beginning).
2) The removal of the Church preceding the Tribulation (dealt with in Genesis 5 [Genesis 5:24] at the beginning).
3) Israel being saved through the Tribulation (dealt with in Genesis 6; 7; 8 at the beginning).

(Note that “Enoch” foreshadows the “one new manin Christ, which would encompass all Christians; and both “Noah” and his “house” are seen, together, foreshadowing “the house of Israel.”)

And, beyond that, there is the matter of a new beginning in Genesis 9, with the Shemites (saved through the Tribulation [while the Gentile nations of the earth suffer destruction]), as previously stated, being the only people having a God (cf. Isaiah 2:2-3; 14:1; Ephesians 2:12-13).

Then Genesis 10 and Genesis 11 cover the same Tribulation period once again from a different perspective.  Babylon, with her first king, is introduced; and the Lord intervenes, as He will when Babylon reappears on the scene in the immediate future, with her last king.

Then, beyond God’s dealings with the first Babylon, there is a new beginning with Abraham (cf. Hebrews 11:8ff).  And this is exactly what is about to happen yet future relative to Babylon on the one hand and the descendants of Abraham on the other.

So, there it is in very brief form.  If you want to know what was uppermost in the mind of God at the beginning, which could only remain uppermost in His mind the remainder of the way, study Genesis 2:4-11:25.  This section of Scripture has to do with Redemption, Christ, Israel, the Church, and the nations; and the whole of the matter, as seen preceding this section (Genesis 1:1-2:3), looks out toward that seventh day
 
2)  GENESIS 11:26FF

Beginning with the call of Abraham, Scripture centers on one man and his descendants.  In order to bring His plans and purposes surrounding man to pass, God set about, through Abraham, to do three things:

1) Give man the Word of God.
2) Bring forth the Messiah.
3) Bring forth a people (both heavenly and earthly) through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

And revelation relating to events following this time (Genesis 11:26ff) is as revelation relating to events preceding this time (Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-11:25).  That which God revealed following Abraham’s call only continues to add more sinews, flesh, and skin to the skeletal framework set forth at the beginning — continuing to progressively clothe the skeletal framework, little, by little, by little… (cf. Isaiah 28:10, 13).

For example:

There’s Melchizedek come forth to bless Abraham, following the battle of the kings, forming the type (Genesis 14:1ff); and, in the antitype, this sets forth events that will occur in the coming seventh day when Christ comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek to bless the descendants of Abraham (both heavenly and earthly), following the battle of the kings (following the destruction of Gentile world power).

Then there’s the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain (Genesis 18; 19), typifying, again, the coming destruction of Gentile world power.  And there are numerous lessons within the overall type relative to Abraham and Lot, typifying matters surrounding spiritual and carnal Christians, both today and in that future day.

Or a person might look at the overall type encompassed in Genesis 21; 22; 23; 24; 25.  Revelation in these chapters, in the antitype, covers once again events surrounding Redemption, Christ, Israel, the Church, and the nations, extending from Christ’s birth to His second coming.

(Reference the author’s book, Search For The Bride by Arlen Chitwood, for a detailed exposition of Genesis 21-25, particularly Chapter 24, [Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Search for the Bride, Ch. 2].)

And that’s the way it is.  Scripture has been structured after a particular fashion, and it must be studied after the fashion in which it has been structured.  A person must begin where God began and continue after the manner in which God continued — with the foundation, then building upon the foundation, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

Remaining within a completely biblical framework, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO PROPERLY STUDY SCRIPTURE!

Concluding Remarks

In Ezekiel 37:5ff, “breath” is connected with the whole man — the bones, sinews, flesh, and skin; and “knowledge” concerning the Lord is connected with seeing the whole man live, through the impartation of breath (Ezekiel 37:6).  And that is as it must be, for the whole of Scripture is God-breathed (reference 1) Foundational Prerequisites in this book); and a proper study of the God-breathed Word — seeing the whole man live — provides the only Scriptural means to acquire that which is seen in Ezekiel 37:6 (cf. Romans 10:17):

I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:6)

4)  Building on the Foundation

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

Scripture begins in Genesis with:

The creation of all that exists (Genesis 1:1).
The ruin of one part of that creation (Genesis 1:2a).
The restoration of that one part (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).
The creation of man to rule the restored domain (Genesis 1:26-31).
God then rested “from all His work” that he had “created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3)

These opening verses of Genesis provide not only one complete section of Scripture but also the foundational structure upon which the whole of all subsequent Scripture is built and must be understood.  There is a creation, a ruin of one part of that creation, a restoration of the ruined portion occurring over time covering six days, and then God rests on a seventh day.

And to illustrate how these verses establish the foundation for the whole of Scripture, note events surrounding man’s creation, his ruin, the time that God takes to restore man, and that which will occur following man’s restoration.

It has all been set forth at the very beginning.

God took six days to restore the ruined material creation (ruined because of the sin of the incumbent ruler, Satan [Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19]); and God, in accord with the pattern that He Himself established at the very beginning, is presently taking six days to restore two subsequent ruined creations — man, and the material creation once again (both ruined because of the sin of the one created to take the scepter, ruined because of man’s sin [Genesis 3:1-7, 17-18; Romans 8:20]).  And then, in accord with the pattern established at the beginning, God’s restoration will be followed by a seventh day, which will be a day of rest (Genesis 2:1-3; Hebrews 4:4, 9).

Each day in the former restoration and rest was twenty-four hours in length, as seen by the expression “the evening and the morning” on each day (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:2-3);  but each day in the latter restoration and rest (foreshadowed by the former) is one thousand years in length (Genesis 1:14-19; Matthew 17:1-5; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:5-8).  Just as God restored the ruined creation at the very beginning in six days comprised of twenty-four hours each, He is going to restore the two subsequent ruined creations in six days comprised of one thousand years each.  Then, just as God rested for one twenty-four-hour day at the completion of his restoration work in Genesis, He is going to rest for a one-thousand-year day at the completion of His subsequent restoration work.

Accordingly, the whole of the latter restoration and rest is set forth in foundational form at the very beginning.  The six days of work and one day of rest foreshadow six thousand years of work and one thousand years of rest.  And this covers the whole of God’s revelation to man (save for several brief instances of events either preceding or following the 7,000 years, given so man can properly understand and place events occurring during the 7,000 years within their proper perspective).

Thus it is easy to see and understand how all Scripture following Genesis 1:1-2:3 must relate to this opening section of Scripture, which forms the foundation.  The whole of Scripture, as this opening section, covers events relating to restoration and rest during six and seven days (six and seven thousand years).  The latter is patterned after the former; and to properly understand the latter, one must have a proper understanding of the former.

A solid foundation must first be laid (Genesis 1:1-2:3) before a stable superstructure can be built (Genesis 2:4ff).  And note that any stable structure must always rest on its foundation.

God didn’t place Genesis 1:1-2:3 at the very beginning of His revelation to man, structuring the material in these verses after a certain fashion for man to ignore; nor would God expect man to begin his study of Scripture elsewhere.  Rather, the opposite is true.

God structured the opening section of His revelation to man after a particular fashion, for a reason; and man is to begin where God began and follow the structure that God established.

The "Why" of Error

God tells man in the opening two chapters of His revelation what the whole of His plans and purposes is all about, with the remainder of Scripture simply clothing (adding all the various details to, etc.) that which is set forth in skeletal form at the beginning.  And if material comprising the foundation is ignored or improperly understood, one can never properly relate material comprising the superstructure to its correct place of origin.

All error in biblical doctrine can ultimately be traced back to either this beginning point or the point of ignoring or improperly understanding subsequent preliminary, foundational material built immediately and directly on the foundation itself.

That would be to say again, there must be a solid, stable foundation for a solid, stable superstructure to exist.  And, again, the superstructure must rest on the foundation.

In the main, within Christian circles over the years, this has not been done; and tragic consequences have resulted.  Not only is there a multiplicity of doctrinal thought in numerous areas (some of it being quite dangerous) but there is a general lack of knowledge in these same areas.

Examples from several areas of biblical doctrine would be sufficient to illustrate the point:

1)  SOTERIOLOGY

The word, “soteriology,” comes from the Greek word, soteria, which means “salvation.”  The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding salvation.

The Bible is a book of redemption (redemption past, present, and future); and basic, unchangeable teachings surrounding redemption are set forth in Scripture, at the very beginning, revealing a purpose in view.

In Genesis 1 God sets forth the unchangeable manner in which He, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, restores a ruined creation.  There is a restorative work that follows a specific pattern, and the matter is accomplished entirely by/through divine intervention.  And within this unchangeable pattern set forth at the very beginning, God reveals how any subsequent ruined creation would, of necessity, have to be restored.

It would have to be restored after a certain order, entirely by/through divine intervention, over a six-day (six-thousand-year) period.

Thus, to establish correct thinking relative to the fundamentals of salvation, one must begin in Genesis.  If all those holding erroneous views had begun in Genesis chapter one and understood and adhered to that which God set forth at the very beginning concerning how a ruined creation is to be restored, the numerous, erroneous views that man holds concerning salvation wouldn’t exist.  They couldn’t exist.

And, going to more specific thoughts concerning salvation, the preceding would equally apply to not only the salvation of the spirit but the salvation of the soul as well.  Within the structure of the foundational framework, the salvation of the spirit (the salvation that we presently possess) is realized at the very beginning of the six days, through that which is foreshadowed by events occurring on day one; but the salvation of the soul (a salvation occurring at the end of one’s faith, or as the goal of one’s faith) is an on-going process and is to be realized at the end of the six days, on the seventh day, through that which is foreshadowed by events occurring during days two through six.

In this respect, the unchangeable basics pertaining to salvation in relation to the whole of that which, in reality, is the man himself (both spirit and soul) have been set forth at the very beginning of Scripture, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  And if a person would understand salvation within its correct perspective, avoiding all error, he must begin here.  Here — and only here — can a person see the unchangeable foundation, setting forth the unchangeable basics, laid down at the very beginning.

a) Salvation of the Spirit

Hebrews 4:12 reveals a division being effected by the Word of God, between man’s “soul and spirit.”  And this is a teaching drawn from the very opening verses of Genesis (as seen earlier in this same section in Hebrews chapter four relative to the “rest” set before “the people of God” [Hebrews 4:4, 9]).  The Spirit of God moves in Genesis 1:2b, and God speaks in Genesis 1:3.  In relation to man’s salvation, it is at this point (in what would be seen as the foundational type) that a division is made between man’s “soul and spirit” (in what would be seen as the antitype).

In the type, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence.  Genesis 1:2-3 [2b] records the initial act of the triune Godhead in bringing about the restoration of the ruined material creation, an act in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each participated (note that nothing can come into existence apart from the Son [John 1:3]).

In the antitype, within the framework of man’s salvation experience, the matter is identical.  There must be an act of the triune Godhead, for this is how God worked to restore a ruined creation in the Genesis account, establishing an unchangeable pattern for a later work (established perfectly at the beginning).  According to the established pattern from Genesis 1:2-3 [2b], within man’s salvation experience, the Spirit of God moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence.  The matter is that plain and simple.  Everything is based on the Son’s finished work at Calvary.  The Spirit moving and God speaking are both based on that which occurred almost 2,000 years ago.

When the Son cried out from the Cross, “It is finished,” He meant exactly that (a perfect tense is used in the Greek text, referring to action completed in past time and existing during present time in a finished or completed state — literally, “It has been finished” [John 19:30; cf. Luke 23:46]); and when the Word of God reveals that we have a salvation of divine origin, based entirely on the Son’s finished work, the Word of God means exactly that as well.

When man sinned in the garden, he died spiritually; and when unregenerate man, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), is made alive today, he is made alive spiritually.  The movement of the Spirit (Genesis 1:2b) and God speaking (Genesis 1:3), in order to restore the ruined creation in relation to ruined man, are seen as simultaneous events.  It is the Spirit using the God-breathed Word to effectually perform a supernatural work in unredeemed man.  It is at this point — by and through the in-breathing of God — that life is imparted to the one previously having no life.  God breathes into the one who is dead (the Spirit using the God-breathed Word, based on the finished work of the Son, the living Word), and man is “quickened [‘made alive’]” (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

At this point, light shinesout of darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6), a division is made between the light and the darkness (Genesis 1:4), and the darkness has no apprehension or comprehension of that which is light (John 1:5; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14).

It is at this point in man’s salvation that the spirit is separated from the soul.  The “spirit” in unsaved man is dead.  It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of . . . death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Romans 7:18, 24).  With the movement of the Spirit, using the God-breathed Word, man’s spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul.

The “soul” remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why “the natural [Greek, psychics, ‘soulical’] man” cannot understand “the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness.  There is a God-established division between the spirit and the soul that cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).

b) Salvation of the Soul

God, by/through the preceding process, delivers the spirit from the level into which it fell, resulting from Adam’s sin.  And because the spirit has been delivered, there can once again be communion with God, man can now comprehend spiritual things, and there can now be a progressive, continued work by the Spirit of God within man so that man can ultimately be delivered to the place that God has decreed that he occupy at the end of six days, at the end of six thousand years.

Within the framework of the type in Genesis chapter one, this is the very first thing that is foreshadowed.  This had to be set forth first, for man had to first be made alive — he had to first pass “from death to life” — before anything else in the restorative process could occur.  Thus, this is foreshadowed at the very beginning of the six days that God, in accordance with the established pattern, would use to bring about man’s complete restoration — “spirit, soul, and body” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

To briefly illustrate how God’s complete restoration of man is patterned after God’s complete restoration of the material creation in Genesis 1, note two things:

1) That which occurred on each day.

2) The place where the whole of the restorative process was leading.

Within a type-antitype framework — pertaining to man’s salvation in the antitype — as previously stated, that which occurred in the type on day one (Genesis 1:3-5) pertains to the salvation of man’s spirit, and that which occurred in the type on days two through six (Genesis 1:6-31) pertains to the salvation of man’s soul.

The salvation of the spirit is an instantaneous event where one passes “from death to life,” but not so with the salvation of the soul.  Rather, the salvation of the soul is a progressive event.  It is an event that begins at the point one is made alive spiritually, and it will not be realized until the end of the six days of restorative work (the end of six thousand years of restorative work).

(The issues of the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the present dispensation — which will occur at the end of the six days, the end of the 6,000 years — will have to do with issues surrounding the salvation [or loss] of the soul/life.  It will be here — not before — that a Christian will realize [or fail to realize] the salvation of his soul/life.

Note that issues of the judgment seat of Christ can have nothing whatsoever to do with man’s presently possessed eternal salvation.  Man’s eternal salvation is based entirely on the finished work of Another, which God has already judged, with God being satisfied.

The absence of a future judgment, likewise, cannot wait for the unsaved on this same basis for the same simple reason.  To do so, God would once again have to judge the finished work of His Son.  This is why any future judgment of man — saved or unsaved — can only be solely on the basis of the person’s works being judged, for no other basis can exist in man’s future judgment [e.g., Matthew 25:19-46; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Revelation 20:11-15].

God has already judged the works that have to do with man’s eternal salvation, something that He will never, can never, judge again.

Note how this is set forth in John 3:18, with no judgment in this respect awaiting either the believer or the unbeliever, for God’s judgment relative to Christ’s finished work, upon which eternal salvation is based, is passed:

He who believes in Him is not condemned [‘is not judged’ (is not being judged in the “present,” will not be judged in the “future”)];  but he who does not believe is condemned already [“has already been judged” (a perfect tense in the Greek text, showing action — God’s action concerning the judgment in view — completed in past time and presently existing in that completed state)], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.)

Since the salvation of the spirit cannot occur apart from an exact duplication in the antitype of that which occurred in the type during day one of the restoration in Genesis, how could the salvation of the soul, in relation to that which occurred on days two through six, be looked upon after any other fashion?  It couldn’t.  The latter must follow the pattern to the same degree as the former.  There can be no difference in this respect.

And since this is the case, note that which occurred on days two through six in the restoration of the ruined material creation in Genesis.  Then, to see the overall picture of that which must be done to bring about the salvation of redeemed man’s soul, these same events can be viewed in relation to God’s present restoration of man, a subsequent ruined creation.

Events on days two and three (as events on the first day) have to do with divisions.  On the second day God established a division between the waters (Genesis 1:6-8); and on the third day He caused the dry land with its vegetation to appear, separating the dry land from the waters (Genesis 1:9-13).

Then events on days four through six belong together as another unit, depicting things beyond the divisions previously established.  On the fourth day God placed lights in the heavens to give light upon the earth (Genesis 1:14-19), on the fifth day He created birds that could soar above the earth and marine life that could move throughout the depths of the sea (Genesis 1:20-23), and on the sixth day He created the land animals, which included great creatures capable of roaming the earth (Genesis 1:24-25).

And the whole of God’s restorative work relative to the material creation in Genesis foreshadows the whole of God’s restorative work relative to man.  After man has “passed from death to life,” wherein the spirit is separated from the soul — wrought entirely by/through divine intervention — man finds himself in a position and condition where a continued divine work not only can occur but is vitally necessary.  And only through this continued divine work can the whole of God’s restorative work, as it pertains to man, be realized.

(As seen in God’s initial restorative work surrounding the material creation, man must be completely passive in relation to the salvation of the spirit [he is dead, rendering him incapable of acting].  But man, as the material creation [“And the earth brought forth . . . .”] must then be active.  He must be active in relation to the salvation of his soul [he now has life, allowing him to act].  But, as in the restoration of the material creation, the entire salvation process [spirit and soul, and ultimately the body] is a divine work.

It has to be a divine work, for that is the manner in which it is set forth in the opening type.  It must be as Jonah stated immediately prior to deliverance:  “Salvation [deliverance, restoration] is of the Lord” [Jonah 2:9].)

Events occurring during the first three days in Genesis chapter one would point to elementary things, the basics, in one’s spiritual life and growth.  Events occurring during day one would point to a division having to do with the impartation of life, separating the spiritual from the soulical.  Then events occurring during days two and three would point to divisions, distinctions, as one begins to progressively grow within the framework of the new life brought into existence on the first day.  One would learn to distinguish between the soulical and spiritual, spiritual and carnal (fleshly), Jew, Gentile, and Christian, the dispensations, etc.

Only when one learns the distinctions, divisions, depicted by that which was brought to pass on days two and three is he in a position to move on into the things depicted by that which was brought to pass on days four through six.  On these three days, light was restored to the sun and moon (day four, Genesis 1:14-19); sea life and the birds of the air were created (day five, Genesis 1:20-23); and then God created all the living creatures that roam the earth, followed by His creation of man (day six, Genesis 1:24-27).

That which is depicted by the work of the triune Godhead during these three days points to things beyond elementary truths in the antitype.  After one has passed “from death to life” and has been instructed in the elementary truths (days one through three) — after he has been saved and has grown to a degree in his Christian life — he can then begin to view with understanding deeper spiritual truths of the Word.  He can then begin to view with understanding those things in the Word depicted by events on days four through six of Genesis chapter one.

An individual in this position can then begin to sink deep shafts down into the Word and mine its treasures.

He can look into the Word and understand that which is depicted by the lights in the heavens.  He can, in the true sense of the Word, “mount up with wings as eagles . . . run, and not be weary . . . walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31), as he scales the heights of the Word.

Or he can scale the depths of the Word as the sea creatures plunge to the depths of the sea; or he can roam through the Word as the land creatures roam the earth.  In short, the more a person progresses from immaturity to maturity the more he finds himself moving into a position where he becomes unlimited in that which he can mine from the God-breathed Word in his possession.  And the whole matter is with a view to man, at the end of six days (at the end of six thousand years), being in a position to realize the purpose for his very existence:  “Let them have dominion… [Hebrews, radah, ‘rule’; ‘let them rule…’]” (Genesis 1:26, 28).

And to tie it all together in order to show the connection between maturity in the faith (present) and occupying a position as co-heir with Christ in the kingdom (future) is very simple.  The salvation of the soul — allowing Christians to exercise the regal power and authority for which man was created — will be realized by those who, during the present time, patiently endure, by faith (Hebrews 6:12ff; 10:36ff), the trials and testings of life as they keep their eyes fixed upon the same thing Christ kept His eyes fixed upon as He endured the sufferings of Calvary — the joy “set before Him” (Hebrews 12:1-2; cf. Matthew 25:19-23).  And this cannot be successfully accomplished apart from some element of maturity in the faith.

Note that,

. . . faith comes by [Greek, ek, “out of”] hearing, and hearing by [Greek, dia, “through”] the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

“Faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter.  Thus, walking by faith is walking in accordance with that which God has said; living by faith is living in accordance with that which God has said, etc.

And it all comes down to this:

To act, “by faith,” in any realm of life, one must know and understand that which God has said relative to the matter at hand.  In other words, such a person must be conversant with the Word of God; and the more conversant he is with this Word, the better equipped he will be to act “by faith.”

The pilgrim walk is a walk solelyby faith,” never by sight.  There is only one hope for victory, and that is a continuous walk by faith, with one’s eyes fixed on the goal out ahead.

There will be attacks by Satan time after time after time throughout the Christian life, and the only recourse that Christians possess to assure victory is a knowledge of the Word of God, an ability to use the Word, and an adherence to that which the Word states.  Otherwise defeat can only be inevitable, with the Christian being overcome by the enemy rather than overcoming the enemy.

And that’s why the salvation of the soul — having to do with a participation with Christ as co-heir in events occurring on the seventh day — cannot be realized apart from a realization in one’s life of that which is portended by events on days two through six in the Genesis account.  The journey from day one to day seven can be successfully accomplished only by traveling through days two through six.

Days two through six lie between days one and seven in a parallel respect to the Red Sea and the Wilderness lying between Egypt and Canaan.  No route exists that carries one directly from the beginning point to the end point without passing through that which lies between.  All six of the days must be passed through to reach the seventh day, as the route extending from the death of the Passover Lamb in Egypt through the Red Sea and the Wilderness must be traversed in order to reach the land wherein one’s inheritance lies.

This is the revealed way that God has outlined for man to travel.  And as there is only one revealed way of eternal salvation (man made alive spiritually), there is only one revealed way in which redeemed man can traverse the pilgrim path if he would one day realize the salvation of his soul.

One Way!  One Way!  That’s it!  There is no other!
      
2)  ANTHROPOLOGY

The word, “anthropology,” comes from the Greek word, anthropos, which means “man.”  The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding man.  The origin and reason for man’s existence are set forth in the first chapter of Genesis (Genesis 1:26-28), and additional details concerning how God created man are set forth in the second chapter (Genesis 2:7, 21-25).  Then man’s fall is dealt with in the third chapter, along with God’s promise of a coming Redeemer, followed by an immediate provision of redemption via divine intervention (Genesis 3:1-21).  And the remainder of Scripture (Genesis 3:22ff), covering 6,000 years of time, deals with God’s restoration of the ruined creation, for a revealed purpose.

The purpose for man’s redemption cannot be separated from the purpose for his creation.  He was brought into existence to rule and reign.  God created man, He put the man to sleep, He removed from the man that part of his being that was used to bring the woman into existence, and He then presented the woman back to the man in order that the man might be complete (Genesis 2:7, 21-25).

And this was done (setting forth great foundational truths surrounding Christ and His bride) in order that the man and the woman might rule the restored domain together — the King, with his consort Queen.

And all these things provide God’s unchangeable foundational revelation surrounding man:

1) Man’s creation (the man and the woman — the woman having been removed from the man).

2) God’s purpose for bringing man into existence (to ascend the throne and rule the earth [the king with his consort queen]).

3) Satan’s purpose for bringing about man’s fall (to disqualify man [through sin, as he himself had previously been disqualified] and, resultingly, retain his position on the throne).

4) God’s purpose surrounding man’s redemption (to ultimately place man on the throne, in the stead of Satan and his angels, allowing man to hold the scepter and realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning).

And any later revelation concerning man cannot be understood in its proper perspective apart from beginning where God began — at the beginning — and understanding the Word in this light, for that is where God has placed the unchangeable foundational material upon which His later revelation rests.

(A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, though disqualified, continue to hold his position until his God-appointed successor is not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.  Only at that time will God remove one ruler from the throne [the first] and establish the other [the second] on the throne, in accord with Daniel 4:17, 23-25.

Refer to the account of Saul and David in the books of 1, 2 Samuel, foreshadowing that which has happened, is happening, and will happen relative to Satan and Christ [see this type-antitype sequence in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Run to Win, Ch. 3].)

3)  ESCHATOLOGY

The word, “eschatology,” comes from the Greek word, eschatos, which means “last.”  The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding future events (last things), i.e., prophecy.

And, if a person would have a proper grasp of that which is being dealt with on the subject of eschatology at points throughout Scripture, his study must begin in the opening chapters of Genesis.  The whole of the eschatological framework is set forth within the foundational framework surrounding that which God has revealed about the six and seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

From within that which is taught in this framework, a person can begin to move forward and see any biblical doctrine (doctrine of man, salvation, angels, etc.) within its correct perspective.  Apart from beginning after this fashion, such can never be the case.

In eschatology, everything moves toward that coming seventh day;  but it begins on the first day.  And a person works his way toward that seventh day in Scripture by moving through the previous six days, viewing man’s fall and God’s redemptive work throughout these six days (throughout 6,000 years of redemptive work), with a view to the seventh day (the coming 1,000 years of rest).

(Eschatology in relation to man begins on the first day.  Scripture though reveals a few things occurring prior to the events of day one, in eternity past, which must be understood if all things in Genesis 1:1-2:3 are to, in turn, be properly understood. 

These things would include God placing Satan over this earth as its first provincial ruler, Satan seeking to elevate his throne, and the ruined kingdom that resulted [over which Satan continued to rule, which he continues to rule today].

And a person understanding these things is then in a position to begin in Genesis 1:2 [where the kingdom is seen falling into this ruined state] and move forward.)

Starting at the beginning within the foundational structure, following man’s creation and fall, two days pass, 2,000 years pass, and Abraham appears (allowing the nation of Israel to later appear); then two more days pass, 2,000 additional years pass, and Messiah appears (followed by His death, burial, and resurrection, allowing the Church to be brought into existence [a Scriptural truth that has its foundational teachings within God’s action in Genesis 2:21-25 and Adam’s action in Genesis 3:6]). 

And events surrounding Messiah’s appearance all rest on the foundation established in Genesis chapter one, moving through that which is foreshadowed by events during the six days, with a view to realizing that which is foreshadowed by events on the seventh day in chapter two.  And that’s the way it is with soteriology, anthropology, eschatology, or any other biblical doctrine (Ecclesiology [doctrine of the Church], Christology [doctrine of Christ], Pneumatology [doctrine of the Holy Spirit], etc.). 

The foundational teachings for all biblical doctrine can be found in the opening chapters of Genesis, and particular attention has been called to three (soteriology, anthropology, and eschatology) only to illustrate the point.

The "Results" of Error

There exists in the world today every conceivable difference in biblical interpretation that man can possibly imagine.  This ranges all the way from what might be considered minor differences existing among Christians in the various denominational and independent groups to major differences exhibited by the cults.

But, viewing these differences as a whole, things often become clouded.  A sharp line in doctrinal thought between the cults and the denominational or independent groups (usually considered to be generally sound) is not always so evident.

In fact, the absence of sharp distinctions in various types of unsound doctrinal thought proclaimed by different groups of this nature is far more prevalent than many may realize.  The leaven that the woman placed in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33, apparently very early in the dispensation, is no respecter of names or any other type of divisions among Christian groups.  And this leaven, which has been working since possibly the very inception of the Church, is going to continue doing its damaging work untilthe whole” has been leavened, i.e., untilthe whole” of Christendom has been corrupted.

One of the best examples of the out-working of the leaven within the mainstream of Christendom today would be the widely accepted “Lordship Salvation” teaching, a teaching that has infiltrated practically all denominational and independent groups.  And a high percentage of those holding to this line of thought today are to be found in the so-called fundamental circles.

The teaching itself though undermines the whole of God’s restorative work throughout Man’s Day, for it not only corrupts the gospel of the grace of God (negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of day one in Genesis chapter one) but it obscures the gospel of the glory of Christ (negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of days two through six in Genesis chapter one).

Then another example would be the lack of (and, really, “aversion to” in many instances) teachings dealing with the salvation of the soul within the same so-called fundamental circles (again, negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of days two through six in Genesis chapter one).  This is the message that Satan hates, and he will do everything within his power to prevent its proclamation or understanding (cf. Matthew 13:3-7, 18-22; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

(“So-called fundamental circles” because the name fundamentalism portends a return to the fundamentals of the faith, which, in turn, portends a return to the foundational truths in Genesis.  Such a return would be true fundamentalism, in which the manifested errors among many using this name today would not — they could not — exist.)

So that’s where we are today.  Men have gone astray because they have ignored that which God established, after one fashion, at the beginning.  There has been a departure from the established foundation and subsequent preliminary foundational truths, which has resulted in the manifested error.

And that’s it!  The matter is that simple.  If you want to remain correct as you work your way through Scripture, then it is absolutely necessary that you start out in a correct manner at the beginning.

Begin at the beginning, find out how God structured His Word, study it after that fashion, and you will not go wrong.

Any other way though . . . .

5)  Ages and Dispensations

If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery . . . .

And to make all see what is the fellowship [dispensation] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ,

to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by [might be made known through] the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,

according to the eternal purpose [according to a purpose of the ages] which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:2-3, 9-11 [3a])

The words “age” and “dispensation” do not refer at all to the same thing; nor are they even closely related.  The former has to do with a period of time, but the latter does not refer to time.  It refers to a “stewardshipoccurring within time — within part of an age, a complete age, or even possibly a sequence of ages.

Thus, there are ages, and there are dispensations within the framework of these ages.

The ages began at the time of the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the dispensations could only have begun at the same time or shortly thereafter, at the time God established His universal government.

And, as matters in this respect relate to the earth — one province in God’s universal kingdom — there would have been at least one dispensation, possibly more, within God’s economy in association with Satan being placed over the earth as its first provincial ruler (at a time preceding his fall and man’s subsequent creation); and this dispensation, or these dispensations, could have covered one or more ages.

But insofar as man is concerned, ages and dispensations began with the restoration of the earth and the creation of Adam.  We are living during a present age and dispensation (though the present dispensation only covers a part of the present age [Ephesians 3:2, 9]), and Scripture reveals and names both a succeeding age and dispensation (Mark 10:30; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 5:6).  Then, beyond this succeeding age and dispensation, there is an unending array of future ages (Ephesians 2:7; 3:21; Revelation 1:6); and there would be one or more dispensations occurring within God’s economy during the course of these future ages.

Though we are living during an age, this present age is not “the Church Age” as it is often called.  There is no such thing as “the Church Age.”  The age during which we live began long before the Church was brought into existence, and it will continue at least seven years following that time when the Church is removed from the earth.

Rather, the existence of the Church during the present time (during part of an age) has to do with a “dispensation.”  It has to do with “the dispensation of the grace of God,” “the fellowship [‘dispensation’] of the mystery” (Ephesians 3:2, 9).

And “the mystery” is explained in very simple terms in both Ephesians and Colossians

In Ephesians, the mystery has to do with the “Gentiles [who are 'aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world’]” being made “fellow heirs [with Jewish believers], and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 2:12; 3:6).

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles –

if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,

by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),

which in other ages [‘generations’] was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel [the gospel of the glory of Christ, not the gospel of the grace of God]. (Ephesians 3:1-6)

And in Colossians, reference is again made to the Gentiles, with the mystery being defined as “Christ in you [lit., contextually, ‘Christ being proclaimed among you’], the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-28).

of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God,

the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you [Christ being proclaimed among you], the hope of glory:

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect [mature] in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:25-28)

The mystery — though “hid in Godfrom the beginning (the beginning of the ages) and, of necessity, forming an integral part of the Old Testament foundational material, particularly material in Genesis (seen in the types) — was not fully revealed to man until the days of the Apostle Paul.  Though God had chosen Moses, and then others, to lay this foundational material and/or build upon the foundation, He waited until the days of the Apostle Paul (1,500 years removed from Moses) to provide the necessary additional revelation, which opened the previous revelation surrounding the mystery to one’s understanding.

This is somewhat similar to the angels referred to in 1 Peter 1:12 desiring “to look into” the things surrounding the salvation of the soul (cf. 1 Peter 1:3-11).  They apparently had seen these things in the Old Testament Scriptures but could not fully understand them because the full revelation of God had not yet been given.

But why bother with the Old Testament Scriptures once the matter to which this foundational material refers has, at a later time, been revealed (as, for example, “the mystery”)?  The answer is very simple.  The later revelation opens the earlier after a fashion that the earlier will shed additional, necessary light on the later.  And, aside from that, the unchangeable basics are set forth in the earlier revelation.

Both must be viewed together in order to grasp the complete picture after a correct fashion.

(A “mystery [Greek, mastering, meaning, ‘a hidden thing,’ ‘a secret’]” in the New Testament is usually defined as something previously hidden but now revealed [cf. Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4-5].  This definition though should not be thought of along the lines of something not found in previous revelation, for there is nothing in the New Testament that does not have its roots somewhere in the Old Testament.  Rather, a “mystery,” in reality, pertains to something previously revealed [seen mainly in the types] but not opened up [or fully opened up] to one’s understanding until a later point in time.

The making known of a mystery requires divine action [e.g., Christ, in time past, opened previously revealed revelation surrounding mysteries to His disciples’ understanding (cf. Matthew 13:10-11; Ephesians 3:2-3); and the indwelling Spirit, today, leads individuals “into all truth” surrounding mysteries (cf. John 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 13:2)].  Such a making-known takes something in the Scriptures that cannot be understood [or fully understood] in and of itself; and, by/through divine leadership [using additional revelation that casts light on the earlier revelation (today, comparing Scripture with Scripture under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit)], the matter is opened to one’s understanding.)

“These are ‘mysteries’ [a reference to ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens’ in Matthew 13] because men by nature and by their own abilities are unable to discover and to know them.  It must ‘be given’ to a man ‘to know’ them.  This Divine giving is done by means of revelation…” ~ R. C. H. Lenski

Ages

The Greek New Testament uses the word for “age” (aion) one hundred twenty-six times.  And the translation of aion in different ways in various English versions has resulted in confusion surrounding the use of this word in Scripture.

The word has, numerous times, been translated either “world” or “forever,” rather than “age” (e.g., Matthew 12:32; 13:22, 39-40, 49; 21:19; Mark 4:19; 10:30; 11:14; Hebrews 1:2; 5:6; 6:5, 20, in the KJV).

Actually, in the KJV, there are only two instances in the entire New Testament where aion has been translated “age” (Ephesians 2:7; Colossians 1:26).  Other versions (e.g., NASB, NIV) have, on the other hand, rendered the word as “age” in many instances, though still frequently remaining with the KJV translations of “world” and “forever.”

Then, to further complicate the issue in the KJV, the Greek word genea (appearing in a plural form and meaning “generations”) has been translated “ages” twice (Ephesians 3:5, 21), which, in conjunction with the mistranslation of aion numerous places in Scripture, leaves a very misleading thought pertaining to ages.

In Ephesians 3:21 both aion and genea appear together, and both have been mistranslated in the KJV.  Genea, appearing in a plural form, has been translated “ages”; and aion, appearing twice and meaning within its structured usage, “of the age of the ages” (referring to the climactic age in a sequence of ages, i.e., to the Messianic Era [which is the subject matter leading into this verse — Ephesians 3:1-11]), has been translated “world without end.”

(Aion and genea also appear together in Colossians 1:26; and, unlike Ephesians 3:21, both words have been translated correctly in the KJV — “. . . hid from ages and from generations . . . .”)

To translate genea as “ages” in Ephesians 3:5 sets forth an issue concerning ages that is not at all in accord with the teaching of other Scripture.  Scripture sets forth the thought of a series of ages beginning at the time of the creation of the heavens and the earth (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2), which move toward and climax with the coming Messianic Era.  That is, the 1000-year Messianic Era is the climactic age in a series of ages that began with the creation of the heavens and the earth and the placing of Satan over the earth as the earth’s first provincial ruler.

The basic problem though with understanding the word meaning “generations” as ages in Ephesians 3:5 has to do with the thought that many generations come and go during Man’s Day, but not so with ages.  The whole of Man’s Day — 6,000 years — actually covers only one age, not many ages as Ephesians 3:5 KJV would lead one to believe.

Scripture makes it quite clear that only two ages exist within the framework of the 7,000 years referred to by the seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  One age covers the first 6,000 years, and the other age (the climactic age) covers the last 1,000 years.

To understand this within its Scriptural framework, begin with Matthew 12:31-32.  These verses, dealing with what is called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit [attributing to Christ an exercise of supernatural power emanating from Satan rather than from the Holy Spirit],” refer to two ages.  And the sin of committing this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by the religious leaders in Israel was such that it would not be forgiven them, “neither in this world [Greek, aion, ‘age’], neither in the world [‘age’ (not in the Greek text, but implied from the previous usage)] to come” (Matthew 12:32, KJV).

That is, there would be no forgiveness during either the age in which they lived or in the age that would follow.  And, the action by the religious leaders in Israel (looked upon in a larger sense as action by the entire nation [cf. Matthew 23:34-39]), followed by Christ’s announcement to them, forms the major turning point in the gospel of Matthew.

It was on “the same day” in which this occurred that “Jesus went out of the house [alluding to the house of Israel], and sat by the sea [alluding to the Gentiles]” (Matthew 13:1; cf. Daniel 7:2-3; Matthew 23:38; Revelation 13:1). 

It was also on this same day that He began to speak in parables, something new in His ministry.  Then it was shortly after these things occurred that the Church was first mentioned and the ministry of Christ moved more toward the thought of the Cross rather than the Crown (cf. Matthew 16:17-23; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).

And then, anticipated by all the preceding, the announcement was finally made by Christ in Matthew 21:43 that the kingdom (the proffered heavenly sphere of the kingdom which had been rejected) would be taken from Israel and be given “to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”

The two ages referred to in Matthew 12:32 cover 7,000 years of time — the age that covers Man’s Day, and the age that covers the Messianic Era.  And this is quite easy to illustrate.

(Note that the non-forgiveness associated with a particular sin and two ages in Matthew 12:31-32 has to do with the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, not the earthly sphere, the kingdom covenanted to David.  The earthly sphere of the kingdom can never be taken from Israel.

Refer to 7) Heavenly and Earthly in this book for information about and distinctions between the earthly and the heavenly spheres of the kingdom, both present and future.)

1)  LOOKING FORWARD IN TIME

In the account of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-30, this ruler approached Christ with the question,

. . . Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life [lit., ‘life for the age’]?” Mark 10:17).

And Christ told him exactly what he must do (Mark 10:19-21).  Christ’s answer had to do with obedience to that which God had commanded, denying self, taking up one’s cross, and following Christ (cf. Matthew 16:24-27).

Confusion can only arise when a person attempts to read into the account of the rich young ruler that which is not there, while ignoring that which is there.  The subject is entrance into the kingdom during the coming age, not eternal life that exists during the present age and extends not only throughout the coming age but throughout the subsequent endless ages of eternity.

As previously indicated, from a contextual standpoint, the words “eternal life” in Mark 10:17, a translation of the Greek word aionios, could be better translated, “life for the age.”

(Aionios is the word usually translated “eternal” or “everlasting” in English versions, though aion is occasionally translated in a similar sense — “forever.”  Aionios is the adjective form of the noun aion, from which we derive our English word “aeon.”  Neither the adjective nor the noun means “eternal.”  Rather, the two words really have to do with “a long period of time,” usually thought of as “an age.”

The only way the Greek language can express “eternal,” apart from textual considerations, is by using the noun form of aionios [aion] in the plural [“ages” (e.g., Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8)], or by using aion twice in the plural [“unto the ‘ages (aionas)’ of the ‘ages (aionon)’” (e.g.,  Revelation 1:6, 18; 4:9, 10; 5:13, 14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5)].  A person using the Greek language thinks in the sense of “ages,” with eternity being thought of in the sense of “endless ages,” i.e., “endless aeons,” or “the aeons of the aeons.”

For additional information on the use of aion and aionios in the Greek New Testament, refer to 9) Parables, Figurative Language in this site.)

Mark 10:30, climaxing Christ’s dealings with the rich young ruler, clearly shows that “age” (a singular noun in the Greek text) has to be the correct understanding of aionios in Mark 10:17 (or in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts [Matthew 19:16; Luke 18:18]).  In Mark 10:30, remaining with the translation in most English versions, reference is made to “eternal life” in the “world to come [some versions read, ‘age to come’]” (cf. Mark 10:30 KJV, Mark 10:30 NASB, Mark 10:30 NIV).

This though is not what the Greek text states at all.  In the Greek text, aion and aionios both appear together, referring to the same period of time.  Aion has been translated “world” (or correctly, “age” in some versions); and aionios has invariably been incorrectly translated “eternal” (as in Mark 10:17).

The latter part of Mark 10:30 should literally read, “. . . and in the age to come age-lasting life,” or, “. . . and in the age to come life for that age.”  “Eternal life,” as previously stated, is not even in view.  There is no such thing as inheriting “eternal life” (Mark 10:17) in the “age to come [or ‘world to come’ as some translations erroneously read].”

Aside from the preceding, eternal life is not inherited; it is a free gift, and it is a present possession rather than a future hope.  The possession of eternal life (present) and coming into possession of an inheritance (future) — both spoken of numerous times in Scripture — are two different things entirely.  That which is in view in Mark 10:17-30 is an inheritance with Christ as co-heir in the 1000-year kingdom during the coming age.

But that which we want to see here is a reference to the same two ages referred to in Matthew 12:32.  The coming age is, in Mark 10:30, specifically identified as the Messianic Era; and the present age, in existence at a time preceding Calvary in Matthew 12:32, lasts until the Messianic Era.

2)  LOOKING BACK IN TIME

Now, with that in view, note several Scriptures that show that the age in existence at a time prior to Calvary — an age that extends forward to the Messianic Era (the end of Man’s Day) — also extends back to the very beginning of Man’s Day.  That is, comparing several other references with Matthew 12:32 and Mark 10:17, 30, it can unquestionably be shown that one age covers the whole of Man’s Day — the whole of the 6,000 years foreshadowed by the six days in Genesis 1.

Aion, translated “world” in the KJV, appears in each of the following verses:

As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world [age] began. (Luke 1:70)

Since the world [age] began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. (John 9:32)

Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world [age] began. (Acts 3:21)

Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world [age]. (Acts 15:18, KJV)

The reference to God’s “prophets” in two of the preceding verses (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) should be understood in a somewhat broader sense than the word “prophet” is usually thought of today.  The word appears quite often (about 150 times in the New Testament) and is used as a title given to the person whom the Lord had chosen to communicate — “announce,” “declare” — His message to the people; and the message did not necessarily have to be prophetic per se for the title “prophet” to be used of the messenger.

This title is used referring to those chosen at different times to declare the will and purpose of God by/through either a written revelation or an oral expression.

It is used of individuals preceding the existence of the nation of Israel (Jude 1:14), of individuals in Israel (Matthew 23:37; Luke 24:27), of individuals in the first century Church prior to the completion of the canon of Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:28; 13:9-10; Ephesians 4:11), and of individuals in Israel once again yet future (Joel 2:27-28; Revelation 11:3, 10).

In this respect, all of those chosen to write portions of the Word of God, beginning with Moses and ending with John, could be called “prophets.”  And others, such as Enoch or Noah who communicated the message of God in an oral manner to the people of their day — though they were not chosen to write particular sections of Scripture — could also be looked upon after this same fashion (cf. 2 Peter 2:5; Jude 1:14).  In fact, this word, in its strict Scriptural usage, could be used to refer to certain individuals all the way back to and including Adam himself.

(The first recorded statement by Adam, which concerned an existing relationship between himself and Eve, has far-reaching ramifications.  It has to do with “a great mystery” that God desires His people to know and understand, for it concerns an existing relationship between Christ and the Church.

The former forms the type and the latter the antitype, and this mystery can be seen in its correct proper perspective only by viewing both the type and antitype together [cf. Genesis 2:23-24; Ephesians 5:21-32].)

The age in which Jesus lived at the time of His earthly ministry is, thus, not only seen in Scripture as extending forward to the beginning of the Messianic Era but it is also seen as extending back to the beginning of man’s existence on the earth.  Comparing the different ways aion (age) is used in Luke 1:70; John 9:32; Acts 3:21; 15:18, a person can arrive at only one conclusion.  The present age, looking back in time, covers the entire period of the “prophets,” which, of necessity, would have to include not only Enoch (who “prophesied” over 1,500 years prior to the appearance of Moses [Jude 1:14]), but also Adam.

3)  THE COMPLETE PICTURE

God knew all of His works that would transpire within the framework of the ages at the time of man’s creation (Acts 15:18).  And this was something known at a prior time when He designed and made the ages with the thought in mind that His Son would, in the climactic age of the sequence of ages in view, inheritall things” (Hebrews 1:2; cf. Hebrews 1:2 YLT re ages instead of worlds).  And God — being both Omniscient and the Architect of the ages — in order to make His will known and reveal events transpiring during the ages, simply “spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets,” beginning with Adam.

Accordingly, at least three ages in relation to the earth can be seen in Scripture.  At least one age (and there may have been more than one) existed between the creation of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1 and the beginning of the restoration of the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b.  Then another age began at that point that covers the next 6,000 years.  And, to bring the first sequence of ages to a close, the climactic age of the ages will be ushered in at the completion of the 6,000 years, an age that will cover the next 1,000 years.

Then, at the end of the 1,000-year Messianic Era, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed and be replaced with a new heavens and a new earth, and a new age will begin (which will apparently be the first in a new sequence of ages).  How long that age will last is unrevealed.  But it will have a beginning point and an ending point.

And following that age will be another age, and then another, and then another, forming an unending God-designed and arranged sequence of ages comprising eternity.

Dispensations

“Dispensation” is the term used in Scripture to show distinctions in God’s dealings with different groups of mankind during Man’s Day, along with the Messianic Era.  As previously shown, one age covers the whole of Man’s Day and another age covers the succeeding Messianic Era; but, as will be shown, there are more than two dispensations within the framework of these two ages.

The word “dispensation” is the translation of the Greek word, oikonomia.  A cognate form of the word is oikonomos, which is made up of two words — oikos (house) and nemo (to manage).  Thus, oikonomos has to do with the management of a house, referring particularly to the person (the manager, the steward) placed in charge of the house.  And oikonomia (the word used for “dispensation”) carries the same basic meaning.

Oikonomia has been translated “stewardship” in three instances in the New Testament (Luke 16:2-4, KJV); and the word actually only appears five other times, translated “dispensation” four of the five times (1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:10; 3:2; Colossians 1:25; 1 Timothy 1:4, KJV).

“Stewardship” has to do with household management.  Christians are stewards in this respect since they are members of a household, have been placed in charge of a portion of the Owner’s goods, and are expected to manage those goods within the household (under the leadership of the Holy Spirit) after such a fashion that there will be an increase (cf. Matthew 25:14ff; Luke 19:12ff).

Thus, a “dispensation” simply has to do with the management of the Lord’s household affairs through those whom He has placed in His house (stewards).  And when there is a stewardship change within God’s dealing with mankind, there is, correspondingly, a change in the dispensation.  This would have to be the case, for stewardship and dispensation are synonymous in this respect.

Within the scope of the 7,000 years set forth through that which is foreshadowed by the seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3, there are at least four different dispensations.  There is a present dispensation (during which God is dealing with Christians), there were at least two past dispensations (one in which God dealt with Israel, and the other in which He dealt with mankind at large prior to His dealings with Israel), and there is a future dispensation (the Messianic Era).

Then, the period prior to the creation of Adam in which Satan ruled over the earth apart from a successor being present could only be referred to as a dispensation in the strict sense of the word (for a stewardship did exist, one in which Satan rebelled against the Lord within his assigned position and trust).  And on the other side of the 7,000 years a similar situation exists with respect to the thought of dispensations, with man then occupying positions in God’s government of the universe.

However, time and events both before and after the 7,000 years are spoken of in Scripture only to an extent that will allow man to properly understand time and events during the 7,000 years.  Scripture deals with the latter almost exclusively (with events occurring during the 7,000 years), having very little to say about the former (with events occurring outside the scope of these 7,000 years).

Thus, to speak of dispensations outside the framework of the 7,000 years is doing little more than surmising.  There is very little revelation to work with in this respect, and the subject has been mentioned only to carry some continuity of thought from the past age or ages into the 7,000 years, and from the 7,000 years into the future ages.

1)  THE NORMAL DISPENSATIONAL OUTLOOK

When referring to dispensations, The Scofield Reference Bible is usually looked to more than any other source, for its references follow, to a large extent, a dispensational framework set up in different places in the footnotes.  And this is the same dispensational framework that is usually taught in Bible colleges and seminaries when viewing Scripture after a dispensational fashion
.
Footnotes in The Scofield Reference Bible call attention to seven dispensations:

1) Innocence (from the creation to the fall).
2) Conscience (from the fall to the Flood).
3) Human Government (from the Flood to the call of Abraham).
4) Promise (from the call of Abraham to the giving of the Law at Sinai under Moses).
5) Law (from Sinai to Calvary).
6) Grace (from Calvary to the Kingdom).
7) The Kingdom (the 1000-year Messianic Era).

The preceding though, in The Scofield Reference Bible, is based on an incorrect understanding of what constitutes a dispensation.  Dr. Scofield, for example, defines a dispensation as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God” (footnote to heading of Genesis 1:28ff).

Then, commenting on “the dispensation of the fullness of the times” in Ephesians 1:10, Dr. Scofield states, “This, the seventh and last of the ordered ages which condition human life on the earth, is identical with . . . .”

(The preceding quotations were taken from The Scofield Reference Bible of 1909, the original edition.  The same definition of a dispensation was retained by the editors in The New Scofield Reference Bible of 1967, the updated edition; but the footnote commenting on “the dispensation of the fullness of the times” in Ephesians 1:10 was deleted in the later edition.)

Thus, in both editions of The Scofield Reference Bible, there is an incorrect definition of a dispensation.  And in the original edition, in the footnote commenting on Ephesians 1:10, “dispensation” and “age” are made synonymous, i.e., the seven dispensations are set forth as seven ages.

This is probably the point to which a high percentage of the existing confusion concerning both dispensations and ages can be traced, for footnotes in The Scofield Reference Bible, rather than Scripture itself, have, in many instances, set the mold for much of the dispensational thought in Christendom today.  And this is also probably why the present dispensation is, more often than not, erroneously called “the Church Age” by many Christians.

2)  THE SCRIPTURAL DIVISIONS

Using the strict definition of the Greek word oikonomia (dispensation), Scripture will logically divide itself into four dispensations during the 7,000 years extending from the creation of Adam to the end of the Messianic Kingdom.  In 1 Corinthians 10:32 mankind is divided into three groups, and God’s dealings with these three groups — separately during Man’s Day, and together during the coming Messianic Era — establish the only biblical, dispensational scheme of the matter.

Give no offense [do not be offensive or provide a cause for stumbling], either to the Jews or to the Greeks [Gentiles] or to the Church of God. (1 Corinthians 10:32)

God deals with mankind in cycles of time.  There were, for example, 7-year, 70-year (7x10), and 490-year (7x7x10) cycles in which He dealt with Israel (Exodus 31:13-17; Jeremiah 25:11-12; Daniel 9:2, 24-27), and these cycles occurred within a larger 2,000-year cycle in which He dealt (and will deal) with the nation (seven years yet remain — the seven years comprising the coming Tribulation, Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week — to complete not only a final 490-year cycle but the full 2,000-year cycle).

There are actually three of these 2,000-year cycles (though only one pertains to Israel); and the three 2,000-year cycles, comprising the whole of Man’s Day — covering God’s dealings with the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church of God (His dealings with each occurring separately within one of the 2,000-year cycles) — is followed by the last cycle of time, lasting 1,000 years.  This will be the 1,000-year Messianic Era in which God will deal with the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church of God together at the same time.  And all of this has been foreshadowed by the seven days that God placed at the very beginning of His revelation to man, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

That would be to say, God, throughout the 6,000 years comprising Man’s Day, deals with the three divisions of mankind on an equal time-basis — for 2,000 years each.  Then, following the 6,000 years, He will continue His dealings with these three divisions on an equal time-basis.  He will deal with all three together, at the same time, for 1,000 years.

And these four divisions comprise the dispensational divisions that Scripture itself provides.  This is how the 7,000-year period, foreshadowed at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3, logically divides itself into four dispensations.

God began His actions after this fashion by/through dealing with mankind at large — by/through what would be considered His 2000-year dealings with the Gentiles — though during the first 2,000 years of human history there was, in the strict sense of the word, no such thing as Gentiles.  “A Gentile” in Scripture is simply someone who is not a Jew (or today, when the expressionin Christis used, not a Christian as well [Galatians 3:28]); and prior to the call of Abraham and the separate creation that emanated from his seed through Isaac and Jacob (Isaiah 43:1), a division within mankind of this nature did not, it could not, exist.

However, God’s dealings with mankind in general during the first 2,000 years of human history was, in the main, with those who would later be looked upon as Gentiles.  And His dealings with this division of mankind must either be placed in the first 2,000-year period or not be placed at all.

Or, to turn that around, the first 2,000-year period must either relate to the Gentiles or not relate to any one of the three divisions of mankind.

Then God dealt another 2,000 years (seven years yet remain) with those called Jews, or Hebrews (Abraham was not a “Jew” [a name derived from Judah], but he was the first person in Scripture called a “Hebrew,” with his descendants being called “Hebrews” [a name thought to mean “the one who crossed over,” i.e., crossed over the Euphrates in route to the land to which he had been called, with his descendants looked upon as crossing over with him — Genesis 14:13; 40:15; 43:32; Exodus 2:11; Joshua 24:2-3]).

After that, which brings us into the present 2,000 years, God is dealing with a new creationin Christ” — with Christians — called into existence for a specific, revealed purpose.  And we are today living very near the end of the present two millenniums, which would also place man (Jew, Gentile, and Christian) very near the end of the entire triad of three 2,000-year periods.

That which will end the 6,000 years though, as previously shown, is not the completion of the present 2,000-year period but the completion of the previous 2,000-year period (for seven years yet remain to complete that period, which will run their course after the completion of the present period).  These final seven years, completing Man’s Day, will complete Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy.  One week — the Seventieth Week, a period of seven years comprising the coming Tribulation — remains to be fulfilled in the prophecy given to Daniel concerning his people.

Then, and only then, will God deal with all three divisions of mankind together, at the same time.  And He will, at that time, deal with these three divisions after this fashion for 1,000 years, completing the full 7,000 years.

Thus, Scripture begins with:

1) A 2,000-year dispensation having to do with God’s dealing with the Gentiles (though, again, in the strict sense of the word, there were no Gentiles before there were Jews).
2) Scripture continues with another 2,000-year dispensation having to do with God’s dealings with the Jews.
3) Scripture continues with another 2,000-year dispensation having to do with God’s dealings with Christians.
4) Scripture then concludes the full 7,000 years with a 1,000-year dispensation in which God will deal with all three groups of mankind, together at the same time.

This is the manner in which Scripture naturally divides itself within a dispensational respect, which is in perfect keeping with the framework of time foreshadowed by the six and seven days opening the book of Genesis.  And following these natural divisions is really the best way to divide the whole of Scripture to show an overall dispensational picture that can be easily understood:

1) From Adam to Abraham.
2) From Abraham to Calvary (plus the future seven-year Tribulation).
3) From Calvary to the Kingdom.
4) The 1,000 years toward which everything has moved since God, in the beginning, “made the worlds [‘the ages’]” (Hebrews 1:2).

6)  Jew, Gentile, Christian

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the Church of God. (1 Corinthians 10:32)

The Word of God divides the human race into three separate and distinct groups of individuals, forming three creations:

1) Jews
2) Gentiles
3) Christians

These three creations, brought into existence at different times, will exist separate and distinct from one another throughout not only the present dispensation but also during the coming Messianic Era and the endless ages that follow, comprising eternity.

Mankind began and remained as only one creation for two millennia.  Then, a second creation was brought into existence after the first two millennia had run their course, and a third creation followed after two more millennia had passed.

But within the plans and purposes of God, all three were seen in the beginning, prior to the creation of Adam.  In the beginning, when God made and arranged the ages around the pre-planned activity of His Son within the framework of these ages (Hebrews 1:2 YLT), He had these three divisions of the human race in view.

And nothing can ever hinder the plans and purposes of God.

Man — ignoring God’s revealed plans and purposes through the three segments into which He has divided mankind — talks about the human race in a global, oneness sense, with time and conditions as we know them today going on and on indefinitely.

But God deals with the matter in His Word after a completely different fashion.  God deals with the matter through three separate and distinct creations on a 6,000-year redemptive timetable, with a seventh 1,000-year period lying beyond the 6,000 years (with this seventh millennium followed by an unending sequence of ages, comprising eternity).

God established and revealed His timetable, along with His redemptive work within this timetable, at the very beginning of His Word.  But the ones to whom God revealed His plans and purposes after this fashion have, for the most part, ignored them.  And doing so, man in this respect, remaining ignorant of God’s plans and purposes, goes about following his own plans and purposes, little realizing that his own plans and purposes will shortly and suddenly be interrupted and be completely done away with (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-8).

When man ignores the revealed Word of God, tragic consequences always follow.  Such consequences may not be ushered in immediately.  In fact, they seldom are.  But consequences of this nature must always ultimately follow unbelief.

There is a God-established law of the harvest — sowing and reaping — which must come to pass:

A person always reaps that which he sows.
A person always reaps more than he sows.
The reaping occurs at a later time than the sowing.

The 6,000-year history of man is replete with examples, but the climactic consequence of man’s actions in this respect, climaxing the entire 6,000 years, awaits a future day.  The coming “time of Jacob’s trouble” — a time when millennia of sowing will be reaped — will affect not only Israel but the entire Gentile world (Jeremiah 30:7; Revelation 6:1-17).  And during this time, God, by bringing to pass a time of trouble “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21-22), will climax His dealings with man during man’s 6,000-year day.

THE GENTILES

God began the human race through the creation of one man.  Then He put the man to sleep, removed a rib from his side, formed a woman from the rib, and presented her back to the man, providing not only a helpmate for the man but completeness as well (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 18, 20-25).

Thus, in the beginning there was simply the man, Adam, the woman, Eve, and their progeny that followed.  And any thought of divisions within mankind of a nature seen in the distinction between Jew, Gentile, and Christian had to wait for 2,000 and 4,000 years of human history, though certain events during this first 2,000-year period did foreshadow and portend these divisions.

1)  SAVED AND UNSAVED

During the first 2,000 years of human history, the central or main division seen within mankind was a division into saved or unsaved segments, a division seen throughout Man’s Day.  Other types of division though were seen as well — the division of mankind at the time of the Flood in Genesis 6; 7; 8, the division into three segments of the human race in Genesis 9:25-27, or the division by languages and national boundaries in Genesis 10; 11.  But none of these were the same types of division seen by/through God later bringing into existence a second creation within mankind, and then later yet a third creation.

Viewing a distinction between saved and unsaved individuals during the first 2,000 years of human history would be similar to viewing a distinction between saved and unsaved individuals among the Gentile nations during the coming Tribulation, following the removal of the one new manin Christ.”  The salvation of Gentiles during the coming Tribulation will not separate them from their Gentile heritage in the same sense that it does during the present dispensation (cf. Galatians 3:28).

During the present dispensation, when a Gentile (or a Jew) is saved, that person becomes part of an entirely new creation, the one new man, the new creationin Christ.”  But during the coming Tribulation — which will be the fulfillment of the last seven years of the previous dispensation (ref. 5) Ages and Dispensations of this book) — this will not be the case.

Though individuals will be saved during the Tribulation exactly the same way man has always been saved — by the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood — these individuals will not become part of the new creationin Christ” (as any believing Jew or Gentile becomes today).  The new creationin Christ” (God’s third creation in the human race) will have previously been removed from the earth, leaving only two creations — Jew and Gentile — on the earth.

Thus, a Gentile being saved in that coming day, remaining on earth, could not become part of a creation no longer present on the earth.  Consequently, he will simply remain a Gentile, though saved.  And if he survives the Tribulation he will be among those Gentiles entering into the kingdom, forming a part of the Gentile nations that will populate the earth at the beginning of the Millennium.

And so will it be with unsaved Jews during the Tribulation or at the end of the Tribulation who look upon their Messiah, believe, and are saved.  They will not relinquish their national identity, as believing Jews do today.  Rather, they will remain Jews (as during Old Testament times), forming a part of the Jewish nation (along with resurrected Jews from Old Testament days) who will enter the kingdom here on the earth.

In this respect, during the first 2,000 years of human history, though there was a division between saved and unsaved segments of mankind, the type of divisions that God later brought into existence (separate creations, Jew and Christian), as previously shown, did not exist.  There was simply man in his fallen state (saved or unsaved) belonging to one creation, the only one that existed.

And this one creation in which mankind found itself was not really “Gentile” per se, though it was later looked upon as Gentile after God had brought a second creation (through Jacob) into existence (Isaiah 43:1), forming two divisions within mankind.  Following that, Jacob and his progeny were looked upon as a separate and distinct creation, and all the other nations comprised the creation that had existed throughout the prior 2,000 years.

Only after God produced a special creation in the person of Jacob did a division exist in the human race of a nature that allowed the word “Gentile” to be used — a name referring to someone outside the lineage of Jacob through his twelve sons, later called “Jews.”

And going 2,000 years beyond that to the time God brought a third creation into existence — the new creationin Christ” — the word “Gentile” then distinguished that new segment of mankind from two other segments — both Jews and Christians.  A “Gentile” was then/is now looked upon as someone who was/is not a Jew or a Christian.

2)  PORTENDING DIVISIONS, TYPES AND ANTITYPES

Though there were no divisions within mankind during the first 2,000 years of human history of a nature that later occurred — when Israel was brought into existence, and later the new creationin Christ” — certain events did occur during this time that foreshadowed both the existence of the nation of Israel and subsequently the existence of the Church.  Then other events occurred during this time, apart from typology, which portended the existence of the nation of Israel, prior to its actual existence.

Those comprising the nation of Israel are Semites, descending from Shem, one of Noah’s three sons.  And following the Flood, Shem was the only one of Noah’s sons said to have a God, with any of God’s blessings that either of the other two sons would receive flowing only through Shem, as they dwelled “in the tents of Shem” — i.e., as they came in contact with and associated themselves with Shem, the only one with a God and the only one through whom God had chosen to channel His blessings for mankind (Genesis 9:26-27).

Though this division within mankind can be seen following the Flood, portending the existence of the nation of Israel centuries later, all three sons of Noah remained of the same creation.  Again, the separate and distinct creation, forming two divisions within mankind, did not exist until Jacob appeared.

That which is revealed in Genesis 9:26-27 though sets forth a central purpose surrounding Shem’s greater descendants, the nation of Israel, which would form a second creation within mankind.  With respect to that which is seen in this section of Scripture, the nation of Israel, about eight hundred years later was called into existence to be the channel through which God would bless all the Gentile nations.  Following Noah’s statement in Genesis 9:26-27, there can be no such thing as blessings flowing out to the remainder of mankind except through Shem and his descendants.

(In the preceding respect, note that which lies behind anti-Semitism as it has existed in the world down through the centuries [e.g., during modern times — actions of the Third Reich in Europe during World War II or those of certain Gentile nations in the Middle East today].

Satan and his angels have ruled the earth from the heavens through the Gentile nations throughout Man’s Day, and they know full well the place that Israel occupies in God’s revealed plans and purposes [a nation separate from the Gentile nations, through which they do not and cannot rule].  As a result, they, by/through moving rulers within the Gentile nations, have done and continue to do everything within their power to prevent God’s plans and purposes surrounding the Jewish people.  And man, by following Satanic leadership of this nature, continues attempting to do away with and destroy the very channel that God has chosen and brought into existence to bless all of the Gentile nations, including even those nations attempting to destroy Israel.

This, in connection with man’s attitude toward Christ, is undoubtedly the greatest oxymoron of all times.  Fallen man, who would desire God’s blessings, has rejected one of God’s firstborn Sons and is seeking the destruction of the other firstborn son.

For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books, The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood and God’s Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood.)

Then, viewing the matter after a different fashion, though the whole of mankind comprised only one group during the first 2,000 years of human history, both the second and third groups (Jews and Christians, yet to be brought into existence) can be seen in different accounts of the history of the first group (which formed types of the second and third groups).

For example:

Israel can be seen in the account of Cain slaying Abel, foreshadowing Israel slaying Christ 4,000 years later (Genesis 4).

Or, Israel can be seen again in the account of Noah passing safely through the Flood, foreshadowing Israel passing safely through the coming Tribulation over 4,000 years later (Genesis 6; 7; 8).

Or, note the previously mentioned account of Noah’s son, Shem, and His God-appointed position relative to Ham and Japheth following the Flood;  this foreshadows Israel’s future God-appointed position among the nations following the Tribulation over 4,000 years later (Genesis 9).

Then, the Church, as Israel, can be seen in this same manner before its actual existence as well.

Note the account of Eve being removed from Adam’s body and presented back to Adam to reign with him as his bride, as consort queen, foreshadowing the called-out group of firstborn sons (Hebrews 12:23) who will be removed from Christ’s body and presented back to Christ to reign with Him as His bride, as consort queen 6,000 years later (Genesis 2).

Or, the Church can be seen again in the account of Adam finding Eve in a fallen state and partaking of sin to effect her redemption so that both might one day eat of the tree of life together.  This foreshadows Christ finding His bride in a fallen state and being made sin to effect her redemption so that both the Redeemer and the redeemed might one day eat of the tree of life together 4,000 and 6,000 years later (Genesis 3), with the tree of life providing the required wisdom and knowledge to rule and to reign for those Christians forming Christ’s bride in that day (reference the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Ch. 5).

Or, the Church can be seen again in the account of Enoch being removed from the earth alive preceding the Flood, foreshadowing the Church being removed from the earth alive preceding the Tribulation over 5,000 years later (Genesis 5).
     
THE JEWS

The beginning of the nation of Israel is usually looked upon as originating with Abraham, the father of the nation.  He is the one who was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, crossed the Euphrates, and was the first person to be called “an Hebrew” (thought to mean, “the one who crossed over,” i.e., the one who crossed the Euphrates in route to the land of Canaan [cf. Genesis 14:13; 40:15; Joshua 24:2-3]).

1)  ABRAHAM AND ISAAC

Abraham though became the father of many nations after he entered the land of Canaan.  He fathered a son by Hagar (Ishmael [Genesis 16:16]), through which, for the most part, the present-day Arabic nations sprang.  Then he fathered a son by Sarah (Isaac [Genesis 21:5]), through which the nation of Israel sprang.  And, following the death of Sarah, he fathered six sons by Keturah (Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah [Genesis 25:1-2]), through which other Arabic nations sprang (though, for the most part, evidently later assimilated into the Ishmaelite Arabic nations).

Then Abraham’s grandson, Esau, became the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:9), a nation whose history can be traced up to but not beyond the first century A.D.

Abraham was the person whom God called out of Ur to be the channel through which He would bring His plans and purposes surrounding man to pass.

1) To bring forth the Redeemer.
2) To give man the Word of God.
3) To be the channel through which blessings would flow out to mankind.

And these plans and purposes were to be realized through one nation, the nation of Israel.

But to complicate the matter somewhat, Abraham, as previously stated, became the father of many nations.  Scripture though leaves no room to question which of the nations God recognized as “Abraham’s seed” insofar as His plans and purposes being brought to pass were concerned.

God rejected Abraham’s firstborn, Ishmael, at the time Isaac’s birth was announced (Genesis 17:15-19);  He again rejected Ishmael following Isaac’s birth, at the time Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:5-12); and nations descending from the sons of Keturah or the Edomites descending from Esau, though all Abraham’s seed, are not seen in Scripture as even being mentioned relative to the matter (as was Ishmael).

From the birth of Isaac forward, the Old Testament centers around one nation — the nation descending from Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons.  Nations descending from the other sons of Abraham, along with the Edomites, though Semitic nations, were looked upon as being among the Gentile nations.  And these nations, as all the other Gentile nations, occupy a place in Scripture only as they come in contact with and/or have dealings with the nation of Israel.

(The preceding, for example, is why Middle East nations that come in contact with Israel are often mentioned over and over in Scripture, in complete keeping with the frequency of these nations coming in contact with or having some type of association with Israel.  “Egypt” would be the classic example in this respect.

On the other hand, this is also the reason why other nations, removed geographically from Israel and not really having any type of contact or association with Israel, are not mentioned at all.

And today, with the United States having befriended Israel since statehood in 1948, one might expect to find the United States to be mentioned, after some fashion, in Scripture.  But such is not the case, and there’s a reason.

Actions involving the United States and Israel are occurring during a time when Israel has been set aside for a dispensation, and God is not presently dealing with Israel on a national basis.  Rather, God is presently dealing with the one new manin Christ.”

The existence of a present nation of Israel in the Middle East, resulting from a Zionistic movement begun under Theodor Herzl over one hundred years ago, is covered in Scripture only to the extent that a Jewish nation must exist in the Middle East at the time God resumes His national dealings with Israel.  And, at that time, nations coming in contact with Israel are once again seen on the pages of Scripture.

Thus, though the United States has had and continues to have a central part in the Gentile nations’ dealings with Israel during modern times, biblical prophecy does not cover the matter.  Prophetic revelation of a nature that covers events in the Middle East today — allowing the United States to be mentioned — simply does not exist, contrary to the attempt by some to make Scripture say and mean things that it doesn’t say and mean at all.

And even during that future time when God completes His dealings with the one new manin Christ,” removes this new man, and then turns to and resumes His dealings with Israel, the United States is not even seen in Scripture, unless in an indirect manner.

In Ezekiel 38, the United states is possibly among the nations spoken of in an indirect manner in Ezekiel 38:13.  Other than this possible one indirect reference, the United States is not seen on the pages of Scripture.  And this reflects directly on the probability that the United States will no longer even be a world power of any significance once the one new manin Christ” has been removed and God resumes His national dealings with Israel.

Note how the removal of the one new manin Christ” can only deplete the ranks of those in every area of life throughout the United States, where a large percentage of the population is comprised of Christians — from every part of the government, to every part of the military, to every part of the populace in general.  The resulting ramifications of the removal of the one new manin Christ” [something that will occur] are unimaginable.)

There is a special creation involved insofar as the nation of Israel is concerned; and accordingly, as in Adam’s creation, the time when two divisions within mankind would exist had to, of necessity, await that day when a divine work could be produced in a particular person at a particular time.

Such a creation could not have been brought to pass in the person of Abraham, for he was the father of many nations.  Thus, had God performed a special creative act at this point in the genealogy, it would have resulted in all of the Semitic nations descending from Abraham being looked upon as separate from the Gentile nations.  That is, all of Abraham’s descendants — through Ishmael, Isaac, and the sons of Keturah — would be part of a separate (single) creation, separate from all the other nations.

Accordingly, this special creative act could not have been brought to pass in Abraham’s son, Isaac, for he had one son (Esau) outside the correct lineage.  Had God performed a special creative act in the person of Isaac, the descendants of Esau as well as the descendants of Jacob would form a separate (single) creation, separate from the remaining nations.

(Note that the whole of the matter is introduced through Noah’s youngest son, Shem, in days immediately following the Flood, nine generations preceding Abraham.  But, for reasons previously given — whether in Shem’s genealogy extending through generations to Abraham, or in Abraham’s and Isaac’s genealogies — a separate, special creation in the human race, of the nature seen, had to await Jacob.)

2)  JACOB

Thus, a special creative act awaited Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.  And this special creative act, which occurred just as much within the physical realm as Adam’s creation, was then passed on to his descendants.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

Following the point in time referred to in Isaiah 43:1, mankind found itself divided into two segments — those in Adam and those in Jacob.  The special creation in Jacob (as the later special creation “in Christ,” forming a third creation within mankind) wrought no change in man’s fallen condition inherited from Adam (retention of the old sin nature, with all of its ramifications).

Whether dealings with the Jews, Gentiles, or Christians, when the old sin nature is in view (which is associated with and can only result in death), the matter is always taken back to Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22).

But in God’s separate and distinct creation surrounding Jacob, though it produced a change in the physical realm, the old sin nature inherited from Adam was retained (as it is today by Christians).  And this change that God brought to pass in Jacob is passed on through procreation from one generation to the next.

(Adam was created from a piece of earth, prior to the ground being cursed.  Thus, in Adam’s creation, there was no connection with sin or the results of sin.

God’s creation of Jacob though was different.  Jacob was created from a descendant of Adam, following the fall.  Thus, even though a separate creation was involved, the sin nature was passed on to this separate creation, for the creation involved the natural man, “Jacob,” not “Israel.”

And as will be seen, in the new creationin Christ,” matters are different yet.  It is spiritual, positional, and no sin can be involved because it is a creation “in Christ,” where no sin can reside.)

By means of the special creation that God performed through Jacob, because it had occurred in the physical realm, God could bring forth a nation through which His plans and purposes would be realized.  The nation emanating from Jacob would be separate and distinct from all the other nations (now looked upon as Gentile nations in the true sense of the word), and God would bring His plans and purposes to pass through this nation.  In this respect, though the nation of Israel looks back to Abraham as the father of the nation, the special creative act — separating this nation from all the surrounding nations — did not, it could not, occur until Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, appeared.

From Jacob sprang twelve sons.  And from these twelve sons sprang the twelve tribes of Israel, forming the nation through which God gave man the Redeemer, the written Word of God, and through which all blessings for mankind have flowed, continue to flow, and will flow in all their fulness during the Messianic Era.

(Of interest to note:  The name “Israel” is derived from a combination of two Hebrew names — Sarah and El.  The name Sarah means “princess,” and El is the Hebrew singular form for “God” [Elohim is the plural form found throughout the Old Testament].

El is a common ending for many Hebrew names, combining different meanings of names with the Word for God [e.g., Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel].  Thus, the meaning of “Israel,” as seen in Genesis 32:28, is derived from the name — “a prince, a princess [God’s firstborn son, the wife of Jehovah]” who has “power with God and with men” [power with men because of power with God].

And, with this in mind, note the typology of Genesis 21-23, where Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is seen as a type of Israel, the wife of God.

Regal implications are seen throughout, whether in the type in Genesis or in that which the type foreshadows.  It is “Israel” who is destined to one day possess princely/princessly [regal] “power with God and with men” [cf. Genesis 35:10-12].)

THE CHURCH OF GOD

This then brings us to the third and last of the special creative acts of God within the human race, leaving mankind divided into three separate and distinct segments rather than the previous two.  And this creation, rather than occurring in the physical realm, occurred in the spiritual realm.  The former two creations (Jew and Gentile) could be passed on through one’s progeny, but not the third creation (Christian).

1)  PURPOSE FOR

Before seeing the different things about this creation as Scripture presents them, a purpose for the new creation’s existence needs to be seen.  After all, God’s plans and purposes, resulting in spiritual blessings for mankind, were to be realized through Abraham and his seed (something which could never change).  So, why call a third creation into existence?

And, again, if this third creation is to be placed, after any fashion, as another channel (as Israel) through which God’s plans and purposes are to ultimately be realized, this creation must somehow be “Abraham’s seed,” though, at the same time, be separate and distinct from the nation of Israel (or the Gentiles).  Such a relationship with Abraham must exist, for spiritual blessings can flow out to mankind only through the seed of Abraham.  And a separation from Israel (or the Gentiles) must exist as well, else God’s purpose for the new creation could not be carried out.  This third creation must be separate and distinct from the creation in Jacob (or in Adam) and exist solely as a completely new creation, a new creationin Christ.”

The purpose for the existence of the third creation in the human race goes all the way back to the beginning within the mind of God, when He made and arranged the ages around the pre-planned work of His Son within the framework of these ages.  This is why the third creation (along with the second) is seen time after time in Old Testament typology.  But the working out of matters and the bringing into existence of this third creation — the one new manin Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-15) — did not occur until Israel’s Messiah had been sent to the earth, had offered the kingdom of the heavens to the nation of Israel, had been rejected, had been crucified, and had been raised from the dead.

In the Old Testament, Israel was made the repository for both heavenly and earthly promises and blessings.  And these promises and blessings — to be realized by Israel, resulting in the Gentile nations being blessed — were to flow out to the Gentile nations through Abraham and his Seed from two spheres, heavenly and earthly (Genesis 12:1-3; 14:17-22; 22:17-18).

This is the manner in which God has decreed that the matter exist.  It has been established in this manner, it can never change, and there can never be an exception.

When Christ appeared on earth the first time, His message to Israel — a message proclaimed first by John the Baptist, followed by Christ and His disciples — was,

Repent [a plural pronoun, referring to the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:1-8).

That would be to say, the nation was called to national repentance in view of the Israelites occupying proffered positions in heavenly places in the kingdom; and these positions were to be occupied at a time in the immediate future (the kingdom was “at hand [or, ‘had drawn near’]”), for the Messianic King Himself was present, proclaiming the message and extending the offer.  And the establishment of the proffered kingdom was contingent on the nation’s positive response to the King’s call.

Then it must be recognized that the passing of this part of the kingdom (the heavenly realm, then in the hands of Satan and his angels, as it is today) into the hands of the seed of Abraham could only have been accompanied by the earthly part of the kingdom being established as well (necessitating the overthrow of Gentile world power, also under Satan).  It is one kingdom with two realms or facets, and there could have been no such thing as one realm of the kingdom being established without the other realm also being established.

The nation as a whole though, as led by their religious leaders (mainly the Scribes, Pharisees, and sadducees), was not interested in the proffered heavenly portion of the kingdom.  And regardless of what the people of Israel understood or didn’t understand relative to the complete scope of the proffered kingdom (one kingdom with two parts, which must be established in conjunction with one another), the nation subsequently not only rejected the offer but the Jewish people crucified the One who made the offer.

All of this provides the backdrop for the new creationin Christ” being brought into existence.

Israel’s rejection of the proffered kingdom provides the reason for God bringing a third creation in the human race into existence.  This third creation, the new creationin Christ,” the “Church of God,” was brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, i.e., the heavenly sphere of the kingdom (cf. Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Then, again, there is another side to the matter.  Israel’s rejection of the heavenly sphere of the kingdom allowed God to bring a third creation into existence.  This new creation, occupying the position “in Christ,” was Christ’s body, with Christ the Head of the body (Ephesians 1:22-23).  And according to the original type (seen in Adam and Eve [governing all subsequent types, along with the antitype]), Christ’s bride — the one who is to reign as consort queen with Him from the heavens over the earth during the coming age — is to be removed from His body (cf. Genesis 2:21-23; Ephesians 5:23-32).

This was something not possible for Israel (for Israel was God’s wife and did not comprise Christ’s body).  And no Gentile nation could even come under consideration (for all of the Gentile nations were completely removed from the matter at hand, “having no hope, and without God in the world” [Ephesians 2:12]).

Thus, a third creation, separate from both Israel and the Gentile nations, had to be brought into existence.

And that’s exactly what God did following the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son.  God brought the one new manin Christ” into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, and He performed this act in such a way that His Son’s bride could also be removed from this new creation, in accord with the original type in Genesis 2:21-23.

Christ, God of very God, knew at the time He offered the kingdom of the heavens to Israel that Israel wouldn’t — the nation couldn’t — accept the offer, though a bona fide offer was made.

This is why the Son could tell the religious leaders in Israel that the sin they had committed, in Matthew 12, attributing Christ’s power to perform miraculous works to Satan rather than to the Spirit of God (referring to a miraculous work performed in connection with the proffered kingdom), would not be forgiven Israel for two ages — the present age, Man’s Day, and the coming age, the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era (Matthew 12:22-32).

This is also why Christ could later call Peter’s attention to the fact that the Church was about to be brought into existence (Matthew 16:18).

And this is why Christ could still later announce to the religious leaders in Israel that the kingdom (the proffered heavenly portion) would be taken from Israel and given “to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43).

2)  IN CHRIST

The existence of the one new manin Christ” could not be just another creation, separate from Israel and the Gentile nations.  As previously stated, the new creation had to be both Abraham’s seed and Christ’s body.

This new creation had to be the former (Abraham’s seed) because the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, as the earthly, could not be inherited by individuals who were not of Abraham’s seed.  Blessings during the Messianic Era are to flow out to the Gentile nations from both heavenly and earthly spheres, and Scripture is very clear that blessings of this nature can flow out to the Gentile nations after this fashion only through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:2-3; 22:17-18).

Then, this new creation had to be the latter (Christ’s body), for the bride who is to reign as consort queen with Christ from heavenly places is to be taken from His body (cf. Genesis 2:21-24; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Ephesians 5:22-32).

And, along with the preceding, this new creation could be neither Jew nor Gentile, though it had to be removed from one or both of the former creations.  And, in this case, as the second creation (Jew) was removed from the first (Gentile), the third creation (Christian) was/is being removed from the previous two (both Jew and Gentile).

Fifty days following His Son’s resurrection, God established this creation at events surrounding Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff).  Events on this day occurred in connection with a Jewish festival portending the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and with individuals being filled with the Spirit in keeping with Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:4 [reference the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Acts to the Epistles, Ch. 1]).

And though there was a re-offer of the kingdom to Israel during about the first thirty years of the dispensation (in keeping with a beginning fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy [cf. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21]), with the message “to the Jew first,” the message was now “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10).

The latter is why God chose and called Paul about five years following Calvary.  Paul was chosen and called forth to proclaim the message to “the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15; Galatians 2:2, 7).

Apart from a new creation, the message could not have been “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” after the manner seen (Gentiles brought in after such a fashion that they found themselves associated with heavenly positions in the kingdom).  There was a baptism, an immersion, in the Spirit (Acts 1:5); and, aside from its connection with Joel’s prophecy in Acts 2:4 (because the kingdom was being re-offered to Israel), this immersion in the Spirit that occurred on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D. could only have been the same as the Christian experience today — bringing into existence the one new manin Christ” on that day (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:15).

(The expression “Gentile” was used of saved Gentiles during this time [e.g., Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:14; Ephesians 3:6], during the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, to distinguish between saved Jews and saved Gentiles [saved Jews who were still part of the nation (who had lived before Calvary and were still present following Calvary), not saved Jews who were part of the one new manin Christ”; and saved Gentiles who were no longer part of the Gentile nations but part of the one new manin Christ”].

Once the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel had been withdrawn [about 63 A.D.] and this saved generation of Jews had passed off the scene, terminology of this nature would have been out of place.  Beyond this, in terminology, a clear distinction is drawn between Jews, Gentiles, and Christians.

Also, along these same lines, note that those baptized [immersed] in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were not unsaved individuals.  The immersion in the Spirit had nothing to do with eternal salvation; nor does it have anything to do with eternal salvation today.  The work of the Spirit relative to eternal salvation — salvation by grace — was set forth in an unchangeable manner at the beginning, in Genesis 1:2-5; 2:7; 3:21; 4:8-10 [1:2b]; and, accordingly, this work of the Spirit has always been the same in relation to eternal salvation.

Eternal salvation is effected through the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood.  The baptism [immersion] in the Spirit is something additional [peculiar to the present dispensation], which, today, could only be seen as occurring in conjunction with and at the same time as the Spirit’s work surrounding salvation.

One produces life [the Spirit breathing]; and the other brings about the new creation [immersion in the Spirit], placing the person “in Christ.”)

In this respect, the bringing into existence of the new creationin Christ,” the beginning of the present dispensation, or the beginning of the fulfillment of the antitype of Genesis 24 (the Spirit’s search for a bride for God’s Son) can only be placed in Acts 2.

But aside from the preceding, and looking at the matter as it has existed throughout the present dispensation, a Jew or a Gentile can become a new creationin Christ” simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31).  By believing, as the Spirit breathes life into the one possessing no life, he passes “from death to life.”  And the person — whether Jew or Gentile — is, at the same time, immersed in the Spirit, allowing him to occupy a positional standing “in Christ.”  The person becomes a new creation, in the spiritual realm under discussion; and, within this realm, he is no longer associated with his prior creation (whether Jew or Gentile).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If he were a Jew prior to the time of belief, he ceased to be a Jew.  He relinquished his national identity and became a new creationin Christ.”

The “old things [having to do with the old creation in Jacob] have passed away,” and “all things [having to do with the new creation ‘in Christ’] have become new.”  The latter part of the verse should literally read, “.  . behold, he has become new [i.e., he has become a new creation].”

On the other hand, if he were a Gentile prior to the time of belief, exactly the same thing occurred as happened to a believing Jew.  He relinquished his national identity and became a new creationin Christ.”  And 2 Corinthians 5:17 applies to him in exactly the same fashion as it applies to a believing Jew.

Both believing Jews and believing Gentiles become part of the one new manin Christ,” where there is neither Jew nor Gentile.  And together they become “fellowheirs [in relation to heavenly promises and blessings], and of the same body [Christ’s body]…” (Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 2:13-15; 3:1-6).

A Jew, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among a nation destined to one day realize earthly promises and blessings.  And, by so doing, he comes into possession of a higher calling.  He now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (1 Peter 2:9-10).

A Gentile, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among the nations that have “no hope,” and are “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).  Thus, by so doing, he simply comes into possession of a calling, having possessed no previous calling.  He, as the believing Jew, now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (Ephesians 3:5).

And this has all been made possible because, being “in Christ [who is Abraham’s Seed],” individuals are looked upon as being “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:16, 29).

The expression “in Christ” is the key involving the one new man.  This is a positional standing, brought about through a baptism (an immersion) in the Spirit, which occurs at the same time that the Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, on the basis of the Son’s finished work at Calvary.

Thus, the matter surrounding the new creationin Christ” is spiritual, and the matter surrounding the prior two creations (in Adam, in Jacob) is physical, or natural.  The first two creations can be passed from one generation to the next via the natural birth, but the latter creation cannot.  The latter is spiritual, completely separate from the natural, and it must be experienced on an individual basis by/through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, the Spirit’s work in the individual — breathing life into the person on the one hand and bringing about the new creation on the other — results in no change in the physical, the natural man.  Paul, a new creationin Christ,” could also refer to himself as “an Israelite” (Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22), “a Jew” (Acts 21:39; 22:3), and “an Hebrew” (2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5).

The former (the Spirit’s work) had to do with his identity through being in Christ, associating him with  that which was spiritual, that which was from above; and the latter (natural birth) had to do with his identity outside of Christ, associating him with that which was natural, that which was from below.

(Note that the old sin nature is associated only with the latter [the natural], never with the former [the spiritual]; and being born from above, brought forth out of God [John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; 1 John 3:9; 5:1] is associated only with the former [the spiritual], never with the latter [the natural].)

Within a type-antitype framework, the former [the spiritual] had to do with “Isaac” and the latter [the natural] with “Ishmael” — individuals typifying the man of spirit and the man of flesh respectively, which cannot co-exist harmoniously or after an inseparable fashion with one another (cf. Genesis 21:9-10; Galatians 4:22-31).  That’s why there can be no such thing as a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian, for that would be placing Ishmael and Isaac together, as a single entity.

Rather, there are Jews, Gentiles, and Christians; and that’s the way it must remain, with each of these three creations looked upon as separate and distinct from one another.

7)  Heavenly and Earthly

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.

And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;

And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

In blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your seed [descendants] as the stars of the heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. (Genesis 22:17-18)

The coming kingdom of Christ, toward which the whole of Scripture moves, will be one kingdom with two realms:

1) A heavenly realm.
2) An earthly realm.

Christ, the Seed of Abraham, will be the Supreme Ruler; and occupying positions of power and authority with Him will be the seed of Abraham, the Church, ruling from a heavenly realm and the seed of Abraham, Israel, ruling from an earthly realm.

Christ, after this fashion, will have a dual reign, both from His own throne in the heavens and from David’s throne on the earth (Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 3:21).  There will be a Jerusalem above and a Jerusalem below.  The New Jerusalem will rest in a heavenly position above the earth, as the capital of the earth from above (apparently a satellite city that those on the earth can possibly behold); and the city of Jerusalem on the earth will be restored, existing as the capital city of the earth from below.

Christ, with His co-heirs, will exercise power and authority from the new Jerusalem above the earth; and Christ, in the midst of and with His people, Israel, will exercise power and authority from Jerusalem below, on the earth.  Power and authority from above will emanate from Christ’s own throne, and power and authority from below will emanate from David’s throne, which will be given to Christ (though David will be raised from the dead and sit on this throne as well [cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 9:6-7; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:29-30]).

That will be the basic structure of the coming kingdom of Christ, in which both the heavenly seed and the earthly seed of Abraham will “possess the gate of [rule over]” the Gentile nations of the earth.  And this rule will result in not only the nations being blessed but the kingdom ultimately (at the end of 1,000 years) being brought back into a state where it can be delivered up to the Father so that “God may be all in all [‘God may be all things in all of these things’]” (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; cf. Colossians 1:16, 20).

THE PRESENT KINGDOM

The earth is a province in the kingdom of God, and Satan holds the position of Messianic Angel (the provincial ruler) over the earth.  He has held this position since the time of his appointment by God in the beginning, prior to his fall; and he will continue holding this position until he is one day replaced by Man — the second Man, the last Adam, with His co-heirs, redeemed from the lineage of the first man, the first Adam (Ezekiel 28:14-16; Hebrews 2:5-10).

Satan’s fall produced no change in his appointed position, for a principal of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler hold his appointed position until his successor not only appears but is ready to take the scepter.  There is no such thing as God removing a ruler from a province in His kingdom and not, at the same time, appointing another ruler.

Though Satan’s fall produced no change in His appointed position, it did bring about a change in the kingdom over which he ruled.  The material kingdom itself was destroyed.

And the earth was [‘But the earth became’] without form, and void; and darkness was [‘and darkness became’] upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a; cf. Ezekiel 28:18b).

From that time until immediately prior to the creation of Adam, though Satan continued to occupy his appointed position, he ruled over a ruined kingdom shrouded in darkness (Genesis 1:2a).

Then, approximately 6,000 years ago God restored the earth, along with the light of the sun and the moon (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]); and God brought man into existence at this time with a view to man taking the scepter held by Satan and ruling the restored domain, the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).

This is the way Scripture begins.

1) A creation (Genesis 1:1).

2) A ruin of that creation, resulting from Satan’s sin (Genesis 1:2a).

3) A restoration of the ruined creation through divine intervention, over six days time (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

4) Then, the creation of man to take the scepter and rule, in the stead of Satan (Genesis 1:26-28).

However, the incumbent ruler, Satan, brought about the first man’s fall; and this necessitated the appearance of the second Man to provide redemption before fallen man could one day hold the scepter, as God had originally intended.  Satan, bringing about the first man’s fall, followed by God’s redemption of fallen man, follows the pattern previously established in the first chapter:

1) A creation (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 21-23).

2) A ruin of the creation, resulting from Satan’s intervention (Genesis 3:1ff).

3) A restoration of the ruined creation through divine intervention, over six days, 6,000 years, time (Genesis 3:21ff).

4) Then, redeemed man ultimately holding the scepter in the stead of Satan, realizing the reason for man’s creation in the beginning (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 110:1-2; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 17:1-5; Hebrews 1:2; 2:9-10; Revelation 11:15; 20:1ff).

The earth had been brought into existence for a purpose — “to be inhabited,” i.e., to be an inhabited province in God’s kingdom (Isaiah 45:18); and, following its ruin, the earth was restored in order that God’s purpose for the earth might be realized.

Man, likewise, had been brought into existence for a purpose, which is regal (Genesis 1:26-28); and following man’s ruin, God began a work of restoration in order that His purpose for man’s existence might ultimately be realized.

As God (following Satan’s fall) restored the ruined material creation over a six-day period, He (following man’s fall) is presently restoring another ruined creation — ruined man — over the same length of time, with each day in the latter restoration being 1,000 years in length.  Then, as God rested for a day following the prior restoration (Genesis 2:1-3), He will rest for a day, for 1,000 years, following the present restoration (Hebrews 4:4-9).

The pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation was set at the very beginning, in the opening verses of Genesis.  And man, a subsequent ruined creation, must be restored in exact conformity with the God-established pattern.  As this restoration pertains to “time,” it will be over six days, over six thousand years (cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).  And there will then be a day of rest that will last for one day, for one thousand years.  This is the earth’s coming Sabbath, which every earthly Sabbath foreshadowed (Exodus 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Hebrews 4:4-9).

The whole of Scripture, progressing through six days of redemptive work, moves toward that coming Sabbath of rest.  The skeletal structure was set in a perfect, God-established form in the beginning, and the whole of Scripture beyond that point must rest on this structure.

Consequently, the whole of Scripture can only move toward that coming seventh day when Christ and His co-heirs will take the scepter and rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.

(For additional details concerning a correct interpretation and understanding of Genesis 1:1-2:3, refer to 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture,  3) Beginning and Continuing and 4) Building on the Foundation in this book.)

From what realm though does Satan and his angels presently rule?  It is clear from both Old and New Testament Scriptures that they rule from a heavenly realm over the earth.  Satan and his angels have access to the earth and rule through the Gentile nations on the earth (Genesis 6:2-4; Job 1:7; 2:2; Daniel 10:12-21; 1 Peter 5:8; Jude 1:6), but they themselves do not rule on the earth.

1)  LOCATION OF SATAN’S RULE — OLD TESTAMENT

Daniel 10 presents certain insights into how the present kingdom of Satan is structured, along with the location of those administering power and authority in this kingdom.  In Daniel 10, a heavenly messenger who had been dispatched to Daniel on the earth from that part of the heavens where God resides and rules (“the uttermost parts of the north [a superlative in the Hebrew text]” — the northernmost point in the universe in relation to the earth [Isaiah 14:13 ASV]) was detained at a point in the route.

This messenger was detained in the heavens above the earth by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”  Then Michael was dispatched from heaven, and the messenger remained there with “the kings of Persia” while Michael fought with the prince of Persia for his release (Daniel 10:13).

The picture presented is that of powerful angels in the kingdom of Satan ruling the earth from a heavenly realm (a heavenly realm in relation to the earth) through counterparts in the human race on earth.

There was a prince (ruler) of Persia in the heavens, and there was a prince (ruler) of Persia on the earth.  Then, in the heavens, there were lesser rulers associated with Persia (the kings of Persia); and the same would have been true in the earthly kingdom (cf. Daniel 2:39; 5:28-31; 7:5; 8:3-6, 20).

Then beyond that “the prince of Greece” is mentioned — another heavenly ruler, the angelic heavenly ruler over the Grecian kingdom on earth (Daniel 10:20).  And the reason why attention is called to this heavenly ruler is easy to see and understand.  Daniel, throughout his book, deals with the kingdom of Babylon, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar to the days of Antichrist; and Daniel 10:20, “. .  the prince of Greece shall come,” anticipated that day when Alexander the Great in the Grecian kingdom on earth would conquer the kingdom of Babylon under the Medes and the Persians (cf. Daniel 2:39; 7:6; 8:7-8, 21-22).

Thus, there is not only a breakdown of powers in the heavenly kingdom under Satan corresponding to a breakdown of powers in various earthly kingdoms under fallen man but there is also a shifting of powers in the heavenly kingdom corresponding to a shifting of powers in the earthly kingdoms.  In this respect, any person occupying a position of power in any Gentile earthly kingdom during the present age is merely occupying a position of power under Satan and his angels, as they rule from the heavens through counterparts on the earth.

(Note that the nation of Israel is the lone exception among nations on earth whose rulers presently hold positions of power and authority under fallen angels in the kingdom of Satan.  The prince over Israel is Michael [Daniel 10:21], an angelic prince in the heavens who is not numbered among those ruling in Satan’s kingdom, as Israel is not numbered among the nations [Numbers 23:9].)

2)  LOCATION OF SATAN’S RULE — NEW TESTAMENT

The book of Ephesians presents the same picture of Satan’s present kingdom as the book of Daniel, though from a different perspective.  Ephesians is a book dealing with the heavenlies, pointing to the place where the Christians’ future inheritance lies (Ephesians 1:3-23).  Christians have been saved with a view to realizing an inheritance as co-heirs with Christ in a heavenly kingdom at a future date.  That is one of two central messages in this book.

The other central message has to do with the present inhabitants of that heavenly sphere — Satan and his angels (Ephesians 1:21; 3:9-11; 6:11ff).  They are said to reside “in heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10), and Ephesians 6 presents an existing, ongoing warfare between Christians and these angels.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

(The words “in heavenly places” [Ephesians 3:10] and “in high places” [Ephesians 6:12 KJV] are both translations of the same Greek words, referring to a heavenly sphere.  The reference, in both instances, is to angels exercising positions of power and authority from places in the heavens within the kingdom under Satan — the present existing kingdom of the heavens.

For additional information in this realm, refer to the author’s books, The Spiritual Warfare by Arlen Chitwood and The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood.)

Thus, there is a present existing warfare between the heavenly rulers and Christians.  And that warfare rages because Satan and his angels know the reason that the “one new man” “in Christ” has been called into existence (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15; 3:9-11).

The one new manin Christ” will comprise the co-heirs ruling with Christ in that coming day, following the time Satan and his angels will have been put down.  And Christ, with His co-heirs, ruling in the stead of Satan and his angels, will exercise power and authority from the same realm where Satan and his angels presently rule.

Thus, the warfare rages because Satan and his angels are doing everything within their power to prevent this transfer of power and authority; and it will continue to rage until Christians have been removed from the earth, anticipating Satan and his angels being removed from their heavenly realm (“threw them to the earth” [Revelation 12:4, 7-10; cf. Ezekiel 28:16-19 {16b}]) in view of Christ and His co-heirs taking the kingdom (Revelation 19:11-20:6; cf. Revelation 11:15).

These things will occur at the end of the present dispensation (which has lasted almost 2,000 years) and near the end of the present age (which has lasted almost 6,000 years).  Then, and only then, will redeemed man realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning — “. . . let them have dominion [Hebrews, radah, ‘rule’; ‘…let them rule’]” (Genesis 1:26-28).

(The present dispensation covers time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy [Daniel 9:24-27], though not time related to the prophecy.  The present dispensation comprises a 2,000-year period separate from time in Daniel’s prophecy.  God’s chronometer, marking time in the prophecy, has [so to speak] stopped, allowing the present dispensation to run its course.  Then, once the present dispensation has been completed, the Church will be removed, and God will complete His dispensational dealings with Israel through the fulfillment of that which is seen in Daniel’s prophecy.

God’s chronometer relating to the Jewish people will then mark time in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy once again, fulfilling the final week, the final seven years. This final unfulfilled week is the coming seven-year Tribulation.  And the fulfillment of this final week will not only complete seven unfulfilled years of the previous dispensation but also the final seven years of the age covering Man’s 6,000-year Day.

For more information on Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, 12)  Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.

For information on distinctions between ages and dispensations, refer to 5) Ages and Dispensations of this book.)

THE PROFFERED KINGDOM

Israel was called into existence to be the nation that God would not only bless but the nation through which He would bless all the other nations as well.  In this respect, Israel was called into existence to be the channel through which God would bless all of mankind (Genesis 12:1-3).

In order for these blessings to ultimately be realized in their fullness, man must occupy the position for which he was originally created.  Man must hold the scepter.  There can be (there have been and presently are) blessings for mankind, through Israel, as man moves toward that end; but the fullness of blessings that God has in store for mankind, through Israel, cannot be realized until Israel has been restored and man actually holds the scepter.
 
To effect the whole of the matter, Israel’s calling involved giving man the Redeemer, giving man the Word of God, and being made the repository for both heavenly and earthly promises and blessings.

Through Israel, God has given man the Redeemer and the Word of God, revealing His plans and purposes.  But the heavenly and earthly promises and blessings, other than a foretaste, have yet to be realized.  Such a realization awaits Israel’s restoration and man holding the scepter during the coming Messianic Era.

1)  ISRAEL AND THE PROFFERED KINGDOM — PAST

There were two times in history when the nation of Israel was placed in a position where the Jewish people could enter into and occupy the kingdom.  The first was under Moses and later Joshua following the Exodus from Egypt, and the second was under Jesus the Christ 1,500 years later.

A)  THE EARTHLY

The proffered kingdom during the days of Moses and Joshua had to do with the earthly segment of the kingdom.  The Israelites had been called out of Egypt to realize an inheritance in another land, and that other land was the earthly land of Canaan.

The nation under Moses, at Kadesh-Barnea, rebelled against God and His appointed leader Moses.  Because of unbelief, they refused to enter the land and, under God, take the land; and, within their actions, they even went so far as to seek to appoint a new leader and return to Egypt (Numbers 13:26-14:4).

This resulted in the entire accountable generation, save Caleb and Joshua (because they possessed “another spirit” relative to entering the land), being overthrown in the wilderness during the next thirty-eight and one-half years (Numbers 14:5-38).

And then Joshua, after the overthrow of the entire accountable generation and after the death of Moses, led the second generation of Israelites into the land (Joshua 1:1ff).

The Israelites entering the land under Joshua though, along with succeeding generations of Israelites, never realized the fullness of the purpose for their calling.  This failure was the result of unbelief and disobedience at different times on the part of the people.  And the attitude and action of the people in this respect governed the attitude and action of God in this same respect (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).

God’s blessings would follow Israel’s belief and obedience, resulting in the surrounding Gentile nations also being blessed.  But exactly the opposite would result from unbelief and disobedience.  There were curses rather than blessings, and a withholding of blessings from Israel resulted in a withholding of blessings from the surrounding Gentile nations as well.

The kingdom reached its greatest heights during the days of David and his son, Solomon.  But following the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death, things took a different turn entirely.  The nation, through disobedience, became entrenched in a downward course from which there would be no return, leading to Gentile captivity and the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).

God’s call to His people to “humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways” (2 Chronicles 7:14) — through the ministry of the Prophets — went unheeded.

Thus, Gentile powers were eventually allowed to enter the land and take the people captive, uprooting the Jewish people from their own land and transporting them to Gentile lands.  The Assyrians came down and took the northern ten tribes into captivity beginning about 722 B.C., and the Babylonians came over and took the southern two tribes into captivity beginning about 605 B.C.

The removal of the southern two tribes, completing a captivity and removal of the Jewish people from their land by Gentile powers, began the period known as “the times of the Gentiles,” which extends from that point until the end of the coming Tribulation.

The kingdom was taken from Israel at this time, along with the Glory; and neither will be restored to Israel until the coming Messianic Era (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:22, 23; 43:1-5; cf. Luke 9:32; Acts 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Though the Jewish people were allowed to return from captivity seventy years following the Babylonian captivity, only a remnant returned; and though the temple was rebuilt, it housed no Glory.

And the same holds true today.  Though the nation has been allowed to return, only a remnant has done so; and though Israel will shortly rebuild her temple, it will house no Glory.

Another parallel relative to Israel past and present also holds true.  The remnant forming the present nation, as the remnant forming the past nation, will be uprooted and driven to the ends of the earth.  The former occurred under the Romans, beginning in 70 A.D., and the latter will occur under Antichrist, beginning in the middle of the Tribulation.

And as the temple built by the remnant returning to the land following the Babylonian captivity was later destroyed (in 70 A.D.), so will it be with the temple that Israel is about to build.  It too will be destroyed (Daniel 9:26; Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24).

Israel, with her temple (housing the Glory of God once again), will be restored only after the “times of the Gentiles” has run its course and only after Messiah returns.  Christ, Himself, will personally restore the nation (Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Matthew 24:30-31), and He, Himself, will personally build the temple (Zechariah 6:11-13).

(The return of a remnant of Jews from the Babylonian captivity in history and the return of a remnant of Jews from a worldwide dispersion during modern times — both allowed by God — though numerous parallels exist, they are not really the same type of restoration at all.

Israel, in history, had completed God’s required seventy years in Gentile captivity [Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-14].  Israel, today, has not completed God’s required four hundred ninety years in Gentile captivity.  Seven years yet remain [Daniel 9:24-27].  Israel could not return in history until God’s required time in Gentile captivity had run its course; nor can Israel do so today.

The restoration of a remnant in history was under God’s direction, at his command; the restoration of a remnant today has been the result of a Zionistic movement, under man’s direction and command.

God simply will not allow the Jewish people to return from their present dispersion among the Gentiles, under His direction and command, until the full time covered by the four hundred and ninety years has run its course.  To state otherwise would have God acting contrary to His revealed Word, an impossibility.)

B)  THE HEAVENLY

The preceding forms a brief historic and prophetic overview of the earthly segment of the kingdom, which could be understood following the days of David as the kingdom covenanted to David (2 Samuel 7:4-17; cf. Luke 1:31-33).

However, there is another segment of the kingdom which also, of necessity, had to be offered to Israel;  and that other segment is the heavenly.

This segment of the kingdom was offered to Israel at the time of Christ’s first advent.  Scripture clearly reveals that the earthly segment of the kingdom was not in view at all at this time.  Only the heavenly segment was in view.

John the Baptist preceded Christ with the message,

Repent [a plural pronoun in the Greek text, referring to the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:1ff)

John was the forerunner of the Messiah (Matthew 3:3); and he appeared, calling the nation to repentance (a change of mind), announcing that the kingdom of the heavens (the rule of the heavens over the earth) was at hand (i.e., had drawn near and could have been established because Messiah, the Messianic King, was present [cf. Matthew 2:2; 27:29, 37]).

(The expression, “the kingdom of heaven,” appearing thirty-two times in Matthew’s gospel [KJV, et al.] should literally be translated, “the kingdom of the heavens.”  The word “heaven” is always plural and preceded by the definite article in the Greek text.)

Then after John was imprisoned, Jesus took up the message (Matthew 4:12, 17), later He called out twelve disciples to carry this same message to the people throughout the land of Israel, and later yet He called seventy others for the same purpose (Matthew 10:1ff; Luke 10:1ff).

Thus, the offer of the kingdom of the heavens was extended to Israel initially by John the Baptist and for a subsequent three and one-half years by Christ and His disciples — the Twelve, and then the Seventy.  But, after all had been said and done, the nation, because of the attitude of the religious leaders in Israel, rejected not only the offer but even went so far as to reject and crucify the One who had made the offer (Matthew 12:22-32; 23:1ff; 27:17ff).

(An offer of the heavenly segment of the kingdom was a matter that the religious leaders in Israel [centrally the scribes and Pharisees] should have been quite familiar with.  This segment of the kingdom, though not dealt with as extensively in the Old Testament as the earthly, was, nevertheless, a major subject of the Old Testament Scriptures [Genesis 14:18-22; 15:5; 22:17-18; 26:4; Daniel 7:18-27; 10:13-21; cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6].  And many Israelites throughout Old Testament history, understanding these things, looked beyond the earthly to the heavenly [cf. Matthew 8:11; Hebrews 11:8-16].

At the time of Christ’s first coming, the scribes in Israel were the keepers of the Law [the Scriptures], and the Pharisees were the legalistic, fundamental teachers of the Law [the Scriptures].  The Pharisees had originated mainly from the ranks of the scribes and formed, by far, the largest religious sect in Israel; and they, along with the scribes, by their very numbers, controlled the religious life of the people.  The scribes and Pharisees, in this respect, sat “in Moses’ seat” [Matthew 23:2].

It was the scribes and the Pharisees who were directly responsible for misleading the Jewish people when the Word appeared in the form of “flesh.”  On the one hand, they accepted the written Word and contended for its adherence to the very letter; but, on the other hand, they did exactly the opposite with the Word when it was revealed in another form, in the form offlesh.”  The Word, in this form, though the same Word, was rejected and impaled on a Roman cross.

The manner in which Israel’s religious leaders viewed the two appearances of the Word — the written Word, and the Word made “flesh” — forms that could only be considered one of the great enigmas of all time.  Though they adhered to the very letter of Scripture, they failed to see and understand the central subject of Scripture.  They failed to move beyond the letter, from the letter to the spirit [cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6-18], failing to see and understand that of which the Scriptures, in their entirety, spoke — a manifestation of the Word in “flesh,” who was appearing in their midst.

Thus, it is little wonder that One was accepted and the Other rejected, resulting in the nation’s rejection of the message and the Messenger, terminating with Christ’s sharp rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:

 Woe unto you . . .blind guides . . . fools and blind . . . hypocrites . . . brood of vipers . . . .

As well, it is little wonder that when Israel’s rejected Messiah one day returns and the Jewish people realize and understand that which has been done, there will be a great mourning heard throughout the nation:

then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem [referring to the Jewish people] . . .

And the land shall mourn [again, referring to the Jewish people], every family by itself . . . . [Zechariah 12:10-12a {10b, 11a}; cf. Genesis 45:1-4]).

Israel’s rejection of the kingdom of the heavens anticipated the Church being called into existence to be the recipient of that which the nation had rejected (Matthew 16:1-18).  And the announcement concerning the matter was subsequently made to the religious leaders in Israel, as recorded in Matthew 21:43, immediately prior to the events of Calvary:

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God [that part of the kingdom that had been offered, the heavenly] will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

The heavenly segment of the kingdom was taken from Israel in view of the Church being called into existence to be the recipient of this offer.  And Israel, from that point forward, in line with Matthew 12:31, 32, could not bring forth fruit relative to the kingdom of the heavens.

Israel, relative to this segment of the kingdom, could no longer bear fruit, “neither in this world [‘age’], neither in the world [‘age’] to come.”  That encompassed the two ages covering the whole of the time set forth by the seven days in Genesis 1; 2, which covers the 6,000 years comprising Man’s Day and the 1,000 years comprising the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era.

But note that this is relative to the kingdom of the heavens only.  It has nothing to do with the kingdom covenanted to David, the earthly segment of the kingdom.  This can never be taken from Israel, and Israel will one day be very fruitful, on the earth, when Messiah returns and this segment of the kingdom is restored to the nation. 
  
2)  THE CHURCH AND THE PROFFERED KINGDOM — PRESENT

When Christ announced to the religious leaders in Israel that the kingdom would be taken from Israel and be given to “a nation bearing the fruits of it,” that nation — the Church (1 Peter 2:9) — did not then exist.  But though the Church had not yet been called into existence, it had previously been mentioned by Christ (Matthew 16:18) and had been anticipated by events leading into Matthew 21:43 (Matthew 12:22-32; 13:1ff; 21:18-42).

The first mention of the Church though, in reality, actually precedes these events in Matthew’s gospel by one and one-half millenniums in one respect and by four millenniums in another respect.

Moses, 1,500 years before Christ’s first appearance and 1,500 years before the Church was brought into existence, provided the first recorded information concerning the Church.  And this information is provided by way of typology in Genesis 2; 3, drawn from events occurring 2,500 years before Moses recorded them (Eve removed from Adam’s body, Christ’s bride removed from His body).

Then another interesting matter surrounds the fact that the Church is presented in biblical typology prior to any mention of Israel after this fashion.  Israel is not seen in biblical typology until the events recorded in Genesis 4 (Cain slaying Abel, Israel slaying Christ).

And events in Genesis 4 parallel events in the previous chapter, in Genesis 3, where Adam partakes of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, foreshadowing Christ becoming sin to effect our redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21).  In this respect, Israel can be seen indirectly in the events in Genesis 3, for it was the Jewish people who slew Christ (the paschal lamb was given to Israel, and only Israel could slay this lamb [Exodus 11; 12]), typified by Cain slaying Abel in Genesis 4 (with events in Genesis 4 providing commentary on events in Genesis 3).

Thus, matters surrounding Israel rejection of the offer of the kingdom of the heavens, climaxed by the crucifixion of the One who made the offer and necessitating the calling into existence of the Church, all have their roots back in the opening chapters of Genesis.

The Church is that “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9) spoken of in type by Moses, referred to by Christ in Matthew 16:18, and in the mind of Christ in Matthew 21:43 when He announced to the religious leaders in Israel that the kingdom would be taken from them and be given to “a nation bearing the fruits of it.”

The Church is comprised of a heavenly people with heavenly promises and blessings, and these promises and blessings will be realized during a future day (the Messianic Era), in the heavens, not on the earth.  Contrariwise, Israel’s future promises and blessings are earthly alone, for the heavenly promises and blessings have been taken from Israel.

Accordingly, viewing the matter after the preceding fashion leaves no room to question which facet of the kingdom (heavenly or earthly) was offered to, rejected by, and taken from Israel.  The Word clearly states which facet:  “the kingdom of the heavens,” referring to the heavenly sphere of the kingdom.

(The confusion in this realm usually emanates from erroneously understanding the expression, “the kingdom of the heavens,” as referring only to a kingdom having its origin in the heavens, where God dwells, not to a kingdom located in a heavenly sphere.

Then, beyond these clear statements concerning which facet of the kingdom was in view at the time of Christ’s first coming, exactly the same thing can be seen and understood when viewing the matter from the standpoint of the whole of Scripture.)

The earthly segment of the kingdom had been covenanted to David via an unconditional covenant and could not have been, nor can it ever be, taken from the nation of Israel.  Christ’s announcement to the religious leaders in Israel could not have had anything to do with the earthly segment of the kingdom; nor was the earthly segment of the kingdom even in view in the offer of the kingdom to Israel, beginning with John and continuing with Christ and His disciples.

The heavenly segment of the kingdom alone was in view in the offer to Israel, the rejection by Israel, the removal from Israel, and the offer to another nation.  And the Church alone — “Abraham’s seed [because of the Christians’ position ‘in Christ’], and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:29) — is in view as this new nation, clearly identified as the one presently being extended the opportunity to bring forth fruit relative to the kingdom of the heavens.

And the work of the Holy Spirit throughout the entire present dispensation revolves around this whole overall thought.  Redeemed man, removed from both Jew and Gentile,  has been saved (has become a new creation, a part of the one new manin Christ”) for a purpose; and that purpose has to do with bringing forth fruit (present) with a view to occupying a position as co-heir with Christ in “the kingdom of the heavens” (future).

THE FUTURE KINGDOM

Satan and his angels are to be put down, and Christ and His co-heirs are to take the kingdom.  That is the clear testimony of Scripture, beginning in Genesis and concluding in Revelation.  The matter will occur after exactly the same fashion set forth in Daniel 4:17.

. . . By the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will . . . . (Daniel 4:17)

The Most High will one day give the kingdom to His Son (Daniel 7:13-14; cf. Revelation 11:15), Satan and his angels will be put down (exactly as Nebuchadnezzar in history was put down, for that will be “the decree of the most High” [Daniel 4:23-31]), and the Son will then take the kingdom and rule, holding the scepter.

At that time God will place redeemed, qualified individuals in positions of power and authority as co-heirs with His Son (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Matthew 20:23); and Christ, with His co-heirs, will hold the scepter (cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26-27).

Christ’s co-heirs will have previously been shown qualified at the judgment seat; and following the Father positioning these co-heirs on the throne with His Son, Christ and His co-heirs (who will form His wife in that day) will then rule the earth from His throne in the heavenly Jerusalem for 1,000 years.

Israel will have been restored to the nation’s earthly land, and the kingdom covenanted to David will have been restored to Israel.  David’s throne will have been given to Christ;  and He will rule from this throne on the earth as well as from His own throne in the heavens.

Thus, Christ will have a dual reign during the Messianic Era.  And it will be after this fashion that Christ will exercise power and authority over the earth for 1,000 years.

Christ’s rule from the heavens will involve His co-heirs (His wife), who will exercise power and authority with Him over the nations.  And Christ’s rule on the earth will involve the Jewish people (the restored wife of Jehovah) who will also exercise power and authority with Him over the nations.

Accordingly, the Gentile nations, in this manner, will be governed from two realms during this time — heavenly and earthly; and blessings will flow forth through Abraham’s Seed from both realms (cf. Genesis 12:3; 22:17-18; Romans 9:4-5; Galatians 3:16, 29).

And the object of Christ’s rule after this fashion will be to bring order out of disorder, to effect a cosmos out of a chaos.

All rule and all authority and power” must be put down; “all enemies” must be put “under His [under Christ’s] feet,” even “death.”  And when “all things shall be subdued unto Him [unto Christ],” the kingdom will be “delivered up” to “God, even the Father” in order that “God may be all in all [‘God may be all things in all of these things’]” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28, KJV).

This is what the whole of Scripture, beginning in the opening verses of Genesis, anticipates; and to bring the matter to pass, the Son, in conjunction with His co-heirs in the heavens and the nation of Israel on the earth, will rule the earth for the duration of that seventh day — for 1,000 years — foreshadowed by the seventh day seen at the very beginning, in Genesis 2:1-3.

8)  Types and Antitypes

Then He said to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27)

Now these things were our examples [Now these things happened as types for us], to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted . . . .

Now all these things happened to them for examples [Now all these things happened to them for types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [the ages] are come. (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11)

Three things above all else must be adhered to in the study of Scripture:

1) A person must recognize that all Scripture is God-breathed.
2) A person must begin where God began.
3) A person must study Scripture after the fashion in which it was written.

God gave His Word to man through man in a particular manner:

. . . holy men of God spoke as they were moved [borne along] by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21b)

The manner in which God revealed Himself, His plans, and His purposes in His Word (a God-breathed revelation, penned as the Spirit moved men to write) is what makes Scripture different from all other writings.  Scripture stands in a category solely by itself, completely alone; and all other writings stand in a completely separate category (ref. 1) Foundational Prerequisites in this book).

Then, in the process of giving to man, through man, the God-breathed Word, at the very outset God set forth a skeletal structure covering the whole panorama of revelation that was to follow, along with foundational building material.  And if a person would understand Scripture correctly, he must begin where God began and follow that which God has set forth, after the manner in which He Himself structured and established the matter.

The person must follow the skeletal structure and build upon this structure after the manner in which God Himself began and subsequently set matters forth, establishing them in a particular manner throughout.  At any point in the whole of Scripture, any teaching must have a connection with and be in complete agreement with the God-established skeletal structure and subsequent foundational material set forth at the beginning (ref2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture3) Beginning and Continuing and  4) Building on the Foundation in this book).

Then, it must be recognized that God structured His revelation to man after a particular fashion, alluded to in Luke 24:25-27, 44 and stated in so many words in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.  Scripture not only deals with a completely accurate history of certain events surrounding God’s dealings with the earth, angels, and man, but biblical history has been recorded after such a fashion that it is highly typical as well.  God has established His primary means of teaching, not through history per se, but through inherent types seen in history, pointing to antitypes seen in later history and/or prophecy.

The manner in which God revealed Himself to man is as stated in 1 Corinthians 10:11a,

Now all these things happened to them as examples [Greek, tupos, types;  “Now all these things happened to them for types”] . . . .

The reference is to events during Moses’ day, drawing from the wilderness journey of the Israelites.  But the reference would, of necessity, have to go far beyond simply the specific events listed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-10, preceding the statement in 1 Corinthians 10:11.  In the light of other Scripture, as becomes increasingly evident when one views the whole of Scripture, the reference would have to be enlarged to encompass not only all biblical history during Moses’ day but all biblical history beginning with Genesis 1:1.

That would be to say, God has structured His revelation to man after a fashion in which not only true, correct history is presented but this history is presented in such a manner that it is highly typical in nature.  And Scripture, within this highly typical structure, is jam-packed with spiritual significance and meaning.

God, within His sovereign control of all things, brought matters to pass after such a fashion (within the history of the earth, angels, and man) that He could, at a later time, have these events to draw upon in order to teach His people the deep things surrounding Himself, His plans, and His purposes.  And this would be accomplished mainly through types and corresponding antitypes.

Thus, God draws not so much from history per se as He does from the spiritual content set forth in the historic accounts — the great spiritual lessons, taught mainly from types pointing to corresponding antitypes.

Anyone can understand facts within revealed biblical history (saved or unsaved man).  This would pertain more to the letter of the matter.  But only saved man can go beyond the letter to the spirit of the matter (2 Corinthians 3:6-16).  Only the saved can understand the spiritual lessons drawn from history.  Only the saved can look within biblical history and see spiritual content (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

For the unsaved, things beyond the simple, historical facts are completely meaningless.  They can neither see these things nor know them.  Spiritually, they are dead; and these things are “spiritually discerned.”  They can view Scripture only from a “natural [‘soulical’]” standpoint (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But for the saved, the matter is entirely different.  They, by/through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made spiritually alive.  The Spirit has breathed life into the one having no life; they have “passed from death to life.”

And they have this same Spirit — the One who gave the Word to man through man — indwelling them to lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20; 1 John 3:24).  Accordingly, the saved possess the ability to see beyond the facts of history and view the spiritual lessons inherent therein.

This is what is meant by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”  It is within this facet of Scripture that man can see the things that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard . . . .”  It is within this facet of Scripture that “God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
 
And it is within this complete, overall thought, as previously stated, that one finds the whole of biblical history forming types that are fraught with spiritual significance and meaning.  This is the manner in which God has structured His Word.  It has been given to man after this fashion, and if man would properly understand that which God has revealed in His Word, he must study it after the fashion in which it was given and recorded.

THE CENTRAL PERSON OF SCRIPTURE

Viewing Scripture after the preceding fashion, a complete word picture is presented of the central Person of Scripture — the Lord Jesus Christ.  This word picture begins in Genesis 1 and continues uninterrupted until the Living Word Himself appears on the scene 4,000 years later.  In this respect, the Old Testament forms a complete introduction to and revelation of the One who would appear on the earth, intervening in the affairs of man, 4,000 and 6,000 years beyond the creation of man in Genesis 1.

This is really the underlying thought behind Christ’s rebuke of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, following His resurrection.  They didn’t know the spiritual content of their own Old Testament Scriptures, though they undoubtedly would have been familiar with the letter of the matter, the historical facts.  Had they known the spiritual content of the historical facts, they would, in turn, not only have known the exact identity of the person standing in their midst but they would also have known exactly what had occurred, was occurring, and would yet occur.

But “their eyes were restrained [their vision was ‘held back’]” (Luke 24:16).  Insofar as these things were concerned, they were spiritually blind.  Though spiritually alive and capable of understanding spiritual truth, these two disciples hadn’t seen the true spiritual content in their own Scriptures; and, consequently, their own resurrected Messiah was a stranger in their midst, with the events surrounding Calvary and the glory to follow involving things which they didn’t understand at all.

This is the reason Christ referred to the two as not believing “all that the prophets have spoken.”  They should have known that Christ would appear a “first time” to suffer prior to a later appearance to enter into His glory.  That which they had witnessed (His sufferings), were witnessing (the results of His resurrection), and that which lay ahead (His glory), were all foretold in minute detail, time after time after time, by the Old Testament prophets (all whom God had used to pen the Old Testament Scriptures, making them known in the types [e.g., Genesis 22-25; 37-45] and through other means [e.g., Isaiah 52-54; Zechariah 12:10; 13:6; 14:1ff]).  And these disciples should have known these things, but they didn’t know them (Luke 24:25-26).

Thus, in order to instruct these disciples (revealing Himself to them, showing them what had happened, was happening, and would yet happen), Christ went to the one God-revealed account covering the whole of the matter, an account that had been in the possession of the Jewish people for hundreds of years.  He went to the Word given to man through man by the Holy Spirit over a period of about a millennium (from approx. 1445 to about 400 B.C.), beginning with Moses (i.e., the writings of Moses).

And Christ began exactly where the Spirit had begun 1,500 years before when He began giving the Word through man to man.  Christ began at revelation given through Moses.  Then He moved on to revelation given through other prophets.  And by so doing, Christ “expounded to them [the two disciples] in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Then later that day, when Christ “took bread, blessed and broke” the bread before giving it to these two disciples, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (Luke 24:30-35).

Their eyes were opened because they, at that time, had come to know certain things that the Old Testament Scriptures taught concerning Israel’s Messiah.  And that which allowed the two disciples to put these things together in a correct framework and see them after a correct fashion was evidently triggered by Christ breaking bread, blessing it, and giving it to them, exactly as He had done in the presence of the twelve disciples immediately before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:26-29; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Christ is the “bread of life” (John 6:33-35), referred to by the use of “bread” at various times throughout the Old Testament (for example, the manna, or the bread on the table in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle).  Christ was the One whose body, as the Bread, had been broken; and the bread being given to the two disciples following Christ breaking it pointed to the true Bread from heaven having been broken (or, as in the case of the bread being broken and given to the twelve preceding Calvary, about to be broken) on their, and our, behalf.

(Note the Lord’s supper, observed by Christians today — breaking bread, and drinking from the cup.  Observing the Lord’s supper by Christians today pictures exactly the same thing seen in Christ breaking bread in the presence of these two disciples.  A drinking from the cup, of necessity, would have had to be absent at this time because of that which Christ had told His disciples a few days earlier, in Matthew 26:29:

 . . . I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

The preceding statement points forward to that day seen in the typology of Genesis 14:18-20, when Christ comes forth as the Great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek, with “bread and wine,” to bless the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, the nation of Israel.

Observing the Lord’s supper by Christians today shows “the Lord’s death till He comes” [1 Corinthians 11:26].  In this respect, Christ, before breaking bread and giving it to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection, had previously asked them:

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? (Luke 24:26)

And Christians today, breaking bread and drinking from the cup, are to see matters exactly the same way — the broken bread and the cup, pointing to Christ’s past sufferings, are to be followed by His future gloryThe past sufferings are seen in Isaiah 53, and the future glory is seen in Genesis 14, with both seen numerous other places throughout the Old and New Testament Scriptures.)

And the two disciples seeing Christ Himself do this — the One whose body had been broken for them, as the bread had been broken — and having had Christ, immediately prior to this, instruct them from the Old Testament Scriptures (relating, among other things, the sufferings of Christ, which had just occurred), they were then able to put all of it together.  It was at this point that “their eyes were opened,” and it was at this point that “they knew Him.”

They, at this point, knew the Christ of the Old Testament, the One standing in their midst.  They, at this point, knew the One spoken of “in all” of the Old Testament Scriptures, beginning with Moses.

(Note the statement concerning “the rulers of this age [referring centrally to the Jewish religious leaders]” in 1 Corinthians 2:8 who had “crucified the Lord of glory” [Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-15].  Had they previously gone beyond the letter into the spirit of that which the Old Testament reveals concerning Christ — had they known the things from the Old Testament Scriptures that Christ revealed to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus — Scripture clearly states that “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

It is clearly revealed that the religious leaders in Israel knew Christ’s identity [cf. Matthew 21:38-39, 45; John 3:2], which accounts for their actions.  But they didn’t know Him in the sense spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2:8 [note the context of the verse], else, as stated, they would not have crucified Him.)

1)  HOW MUCH OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?

How much of the Old Testament deals with the person and work of Christ?  And how much of the Old Testament is typical in nature?  The two questions do not cover the same scope.  The former is more extensive than the latter and is really all-inclusive.  However, the typical nature of Old Testament Scripture is far more extensive than many may realize or are prone to admit.

How though can one know the extent of typical teachings in the Old Testament Scriptures?  The answer to that is very simple.  Scripture itself reveals the extent.

A)  CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Christ, dealing with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “expounded to them in all the scriptures [the Old Testament Scriptures] the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).  Note that it is not “in the scriptures all . . . .” but “in all the scriptures . . . .”  The simple statement is made that “all the scriptures” — all of the Old Testament Scriptures — are about the person and work of Christ.  He can be seen on every page and in every part of Scripture on that page.

But, the way Christ is presented in the Old Testament Scriptures is in the spirit rather than in the letter of the manner in which Scripture has been structured.  Insofar as Old Testament history is concerned, that would be to say, Christ is really not seen in the strict letter of the historic account per se.

A person can read Old Testament history from one end to the other and never see the person and work of Christ within that history (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-15).  In this respect, the person would be reading the letter of Scripture, failing to see anything beyond.  In order to truly see the Christ of the Old Testament, a person must see beyond the letter to the spirit.

Christ is seen mainly within the inherent types set forth by the historic accounts rather than in the actual historic accounts themselves.  All Old Testament history is, after some fashion, about the person and work of Christ; but this same history must be “spiritually discerned,” “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).

And this can be illustrated after several fashions at the very beginning of Scripture.  The first verse in Scripture forms a direct statement concerning the work of the triune Godhead in creation; and, looking beyond the direct statement, this verse is also the beginning point in the overall type encompassed in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  Accordingly, Christ is revealed at the very beginning of Scripture, in the opening verse, after this dual fashion.

In the beginning God created . . . .”  The word “God” is a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim, a plural noun which, in complete keeping with related Scripture, would include all three members of the Godhead — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Everything that exists in the material universe came into existence “by [‘through’] Him [the Son]”; and apart from Him “was not anything made that was made [i.e., apart from the Son, not one thing that presently exists was (or could have been) brought into existence].”  It was all done through the Son, present with the Father in the beginning (John 1:1-3; cf. Colossians 1:16-17).

Then in Genesis 1:2-3 of the opening chapter of Scripture there is a ruin of the creation (from Genesis 1:1) and a beginning restoration.  And in a type-antitype structure — going beyond the letter to the spirit, as it would pertain to the ruin and beginning restoration of man (a subsequent ruined creation [Genesis 3]) — the Spirit moving (Genesis 1:2) and God speaking (Genesis 1:3) are based on death and shed blood, ultimately and finally on death and shed blood through the finished work of the Son on Calvary, 4,000 years beyond the historic-typical account.

In this respect, the typical reference is to the manner in which God restores ruined man — via death and shed blood — based today on the Son’s finished work at Calvary.  The Spirit moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence (reference the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Egypt to Canaan, Ch. 7, Ch. 8).

Moving on to Genesis 2, Christ and His bride can be seen in the person of Adam with his bride.  Eve was formed from a part of Adam’s body, as the bride of Christ (the bride of “the second Man,” “the last Adam” [1 Corinthians 15:45-47]) will be formed from a part of His body.  And as Eve was presented back to the first man, the first Adam, to complete Adam and to reign as consort queen with him, so will it be with the second Man, the last Adam.  The bride will be removed from His body and be presented back to Christ to not only complete Christ but to reign as consort queen with Him (Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 2:10).

Then in Genesis 3, Adam partook of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, as Christ became sin to effect our redemption.  The first man, the first Adam, found his bride in a fallen state and followed the only avenue open to bring about her redemption.  And the second Man, the last Adam, did exactly the same thing.  He found His bride in a fallen state and procured her redemption through the only means available, through an act that had been predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God before the ages even began (Hebrews 1:2-3; Revelation 13:8; cf. Romans 5:12-14).

Then Genesis 4 provides additional details, commentary, to that which is previously revealed in Genesis 3.  In this chapter Cain slew Abel, pointing to Israel, 4,000 years later, slaying Christ.  One brother slew the other brother in both type and antitype.  The blood of Abel cried outfrom the ground” (Genesis 4:10), but the blood of Christ speaks “better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24).

And on and on one could go with Old Testament history after this fashion.  Exactly what portions of the Old Testament Christ called to the attention of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is unrevealed.  He may have called their attention to Joseph, who first suffered prior to being exalted over all Egypt (a type of the world); or He may have called their attention to Moses, who suffered rejection by his brethren prior to their acceptance of him; or He could have called their attention to any other account or place in the Old Testament.  It is all about Him.

Note that Stephen, in Acts 7, singled out parts of the preceding two types (singled out events in both Joseph’s and Moses’ lives) as he revealed, to Israel’s religious leaders, Christ’s identity from the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 7:9-42).  And, Stephen using the Old Testament Scriptures in this correct manner, caused powers in both the heavens and upon earth to react.  On the one hand, the Son, through an opened heaven, is seen standing (rather than sitting [Psalm 110:1]) at His Father’s right hand; and, on the other hand, the Jewish religious leaders being addressed stoned Stephen (Acts 7:54-60).

Suffice it to say that Christ, in Luke 24, could have referenced any account in Old Testament history and, through this account, revealed things concerning Himself to these two disciples.  We can only know that He did reference different historic accounts in the Old Testament (and possibly Old Testament prophecies and/or statements in the Psalms or Proverbs [cf. Luke 24:44]), beginning with Moses; and, from these accounts, He revealed things concerning Himself to these disciples, especially as these things pertained to His past sufferings and His future glory (Luke 24:26).  And, as a result, in the subsequent breaking of bread, “their eyes were opened” (Luke 24:31).

B)  TYPES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Though all of the Old Testament is, after some fashion, about Christ, not all of the Old Testament is typical in its structure.  Types have to do with history, not with the book of Proverbs, most of that seen in the Prophets, or in many of the Psalms (the latter though, particularly the Psalms and the Prophets, at times, deal with history, in which types can be seen).

The statement, “Now all these things happened to them as examples [‘types’] . . . .” (1 Corinthians 10:11; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6), refers to recorded events in Old Testament history.  And, as previously stated, though the contextual reference is only to a select number of events during Moses’ day, the statement concerning types in connection with Old Testament history could, by no means, be limited only to these contextual references.  It must be looked upon as far more extensive than this.

In fact, drawing from Luke 24:25-27, 44, one can arrive at only one conclusion concerning the extent of typology in connection with Old Testament history.  It must be looked upon as all-inclusive, for all of the Old Testament Scriptures are revealed to be about the central Person of Scripture, Jesus the Christ.

The story of Joseph (ref. Genesis 37-45), for example, is about the Person and work of Christ, though there is no direct statement in the New Testament specifically stating that Joseph is a type of Christ.  But, comparing Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, one can be drawn to no other conclusion.

And so it is with numerous other portions of the Old Testament.  Though no direct statement may exist in the New Testament specifying that a particular person or event forms a type of Christ, dealing with some facet of His person and work, that becomes meaningless in the light of Scriptures such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.

It also becomes meaningless when one sees and understands that God, by His very nature, would, of necessity, be completely consistent concerning how He structured all of Old Testament history.  He simply did not, He would not, He could not, structure part in one way and part in another way, particularly in the light of sections of Scripture such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.

In the preceding respect, and in the light of these sections of Scripture from Luke and First Corinthians, it becomes clear that any Old Testament historic account, of necessity, has to do, after some fashion, with the person and work of Christ (past, present, or future); and this has been accomplished centrally through the inherent typical nature of Old Testament history, established by a Sovereign God, in perfect keeping with Scripture’s own direct statements and internal evidence.

All of this becomes self-evident when one begins to study Old Testament history after the fashion in which it was written.  The whole of Old Testament history, so to speak, begins to come to life and open up as one views the Scriptures after the fashion in which God clearly reveals, in His Word, that they were written.

(Aside from the preceding, any segment of Old Testament history has to do with one part of a complete whole — one part of the complete Word, forming the complete Old Testament canon.  And this complete Word [the complete Old Testament] was made flesh in the person of the Son.

There is the written Word, and there is the living Word; and the two cannot possibly be separated from one another, for the latter is simply a full manifestation of the former, in flesh, which would include the subsequent New Testament revelation as well.

In this respect, approaching the matter from another perspective, the question could be both asked and answered:  “What part of the Old Testament is not about Christ?”  And the answer:  “No part, simply because the Old Testament [not part, but all] was made flesh in the person of the Son.”

That which is stated about or inherent in One [the written Word (John 17:14)] can be stated about and would be inherent in the Other [the Living Word (John 1:1, 14)].  For example, if perfection is seen in One [in Christ], then perfection must exist in the Other as well [the Scriptures].  And the reasoning behind that would emanate from the fact that the living Word is simply a manifestation, in flesh, of the written Word.)   

2)  STRUCTURE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

But is typology limited to Old Testament history?  What about the New Testament?  Is it also highly typical in nature?

The passage already under consideration in Luke 24:13ff would perhaps address the issue about as well as any other part of the New Testament.  There is nothing stated about this section forming a type, but it does.  And the fact that it does is so evident that a person with any spiritual perception at all can’t fail to see it.

Events in Luke 24 occur on the third day, dating from Christ’s crucifixion (Luke 24:21), and have to do with the eyes of blinded Jews being opened through Christ personally appearing in their presence and revealing Himself to them.  This section of Scripture can only refer to one facet of the person and work of Christ.  It can only refer to that future day when Christ appears in Israel’s presence — with Israel, as the two disciples in Luke chapter twenty-four, blinded (Romans 11:25) — and reveals Himself to the nation (Romans 11:26; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

And events of that future day will parallel events in Luke 24:13ff with respect to time as well.  These events will occur after two days, on the third day.  That is to say, they will occur after two thousand years, in the third one-thousand-year period (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2; 2 Peter 3:8).

Israel will not know Christ in that future day, exactly as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t know Him; and He will reveal Himself to the nation exactly the same way that He revealed Himself to these two disciples.

Christ, in that future day, will call the nation’s attention to their own Old Testament Scriptures — Scriptures that relate the entire story, from one end to the other — and He will reveal Himself to the nation from these Scriptures, exactly the same way that He revealed Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in the historic account.

And exactly the same thing will occur in that future day that occurred in the type.  Christ will appear in the antitype of Melchizedek, with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18-20; cf. Matthew 26:26-29), to bless Abraham and his descendants.  And as there was a breaking of bread in the type, there will undoubtedly be a breaking of bread in the antitype.

Then Israel will recognize her Messiah, spoken of throughout the very Old Testament Scriptures that will have been in the possession of the Jewish people for almost two and one-half millennia, with parts of these Scriptures having been in their possession for almost three and one-half millennia.  At that time — at the full end of Daniel’s Seventy Week prophecy — Israel’s blindness will be lifted, and a nation will be brought forth in a day (Isaiah 66:8; Romans 11:26).

Another facet of the matter can be seen in Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1ff.  And, interestingly enough, Paul stated in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 that his salvation experience was “a pattern [Greek, hupotuposis, referring to ‘an original pattern,’ ‘a prototype’] to [‘of’] those who are going to believe on Him [on Jesus Christ] for everlasting life.”  That is to say, the manner in which Paul was saved forms an original type of the manner in which others will be saved at a later time, forming the antitype.

Paul was saved through Christ personally appearing and revealing Himself to him, which is not the manner people have been saved throughout the present dispensation following Paul’s conversion.  But this is the manner in which Israel will be saved at a future time, when Christ reappears to the nation.  And it is this future event to which Paul’s salvation experience, in a God-ordained type, relates.

Paul was saved as a type of the future salvation of Israel.  He, at this time, understood the letter of the Word but not the spirit of the Word.  There was a veil over his eyes, which was “done away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:14).  And so will it be with Israel in the antitype yet future.

There is a reading of the letter of the Old Testament in the synagogues today, as in Paul’s day, which leaves the “veil untaken away.”  Paul, typifying Israel in this respect, was blinded for two days (the veil was over his eyes for two days), with the blindness (the veil) being removed on the third day (Acts 8:9; cf. Genesis 42:17-18; Esther 4:16-5:1; Matthew 27:63; Luke 24:7, 21, 46).

(Paul, prior to the events surrounding his conversion in Acts 9, was part of a redeemed nation, comprised of individuals spiritually alive and capable of understanding spiritual truth, to whom the kingdom of the heavens was being re-offered.  And individuals receiving this message were being saved, delivered, with respect to that which was being proclaimed — Christ’s kingdom and glory — not with respect to eternal salvation, as someone spiritually dead would have been saved then or today.  Those Jews receiving the message at the time of Paul’s conversion, which would include Paul, were already saved in this respect.

The same thing, as it relates to eternal salvation, could be said about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  They had received the message proclaimed by the Messianic King;  Paul hadn’t.  But, as matters relate to eternal salvation, there was no difference.  Paul, prior to his conversion experience in Acts 9 was just as saved in an eternal respect as these two disciples were following their reception of the message proclaimed by the Messianic King.  Or, to state matters another way, Paul was no more saved in an eternal respect following events in Acts 9 as he was before these events.

There are two aspects to the salvation message seen in Luke 24:26.  There is an aspect having to do with Christ’s past sufferings and an aspect having to do with Christ’s coming glory.  This would be seen in Christendom today as the gospel of the grace of God [reflecting upon the first part of Luke 24:26] and the gospel of the glory of Christ [reflecting upon the latter part of this verse (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9)].

Relative to Israel’s coming conversion [foreshadowed by both types], both types would have to cover the whole panorama of the matter, for Israel today, unlike Israel at the time of Christ’s first coming, is spiritually dead.

Israel, yet future, will first be made spiritually alive, saved, delivered, through that which is seen in the first part of Luke 24:26 [Christ’s past sufferings]; then they will be saved, delivered, in relation to that which is seen in the latter part of this same verse [Christ’s future glory].

For additional information pertaining to Israel’s spiritual condition at the time of Christ’s first coming, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Acts to the Epistles.)

The Jewish people must see beyond the letter to the spirit.  They must see the One concerning whom Moses and the prophets wrote.  They must see their Messiah in their own Old Testament Scriptures, something that will occur when Christ returns and reveals Himself to them after this fashion — first as the Paschal Lamb, then as the Messianic King.

And so it is with New Testament history.  The New Testament has been structured after the same fashion as Old Testament history.  It was given through Jewish prophets by the same One who gave the Old Testament Scriptures through Jewish prophets; and it has an evident inherent typical nature, established by the same sovereign God who first structured the Old Testament after this fashion.  
 
THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF SCRIPTURE

As all Scripture revolves around a central Person, all Scripture also revolves around a central focus, which has to do with the central Person.  Scripture concerns itself with time, and, in the main, this time has to do with the 7,000 years portended by the seven days opening Scripture.  And, within this time, there is the thought of creation for a purpose, redemption for a purpose, and God’s work throughout the 6,000 years covering the present age (Man’s Day) for a purpose.

The purpose surrounding man’s creation has to do with the seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period; so does the fall, and so does redemption; and so does God’s work throughout the six days, the 6,000 years of Man’s Day.  The whole of Scripture moves toward that coming seventh day, a pattern established in the skeletal outline set forth at the very beginning.

Thus, the central focus of Scripture looks to that seventh day when the central Person of Scripture will be revealed in all His glory to bring about that for which man was created in the beginning and for which he has been redeemed.  The Son is to exercise dominion over one province in His Father’s kingdom — for a revealed purpose (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) — and man is to have a part in this dominion.

In this respect, biblical history, within its established historic-typical framework, becomes largely prophetic within its scope of fulfillment.  Biblical history, in this respect, revolves around the central Person and the central focus of Scripture.  And the central Person and the central focus of Scripture are so inseparably related that at times they are spoken of either in synonymous terms or both are understood to be in view though only one is mentioned.

Examples of both facets of the matter can be seen in Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45 and Hebrews 12:1-2:

1)  DANIEL 2:34-35, 44-45

The Stone, “cut out of the mountain without hands,” in one respect refers to Christ and in another respect to the kingdom of Christ.

The Father will give the Son “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Daniel 7:13-14).  He will be the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” in the kingdom.  He, as the King, as the Stone, will be the One who personally smites the image at its feet (Revelation 19:11-21).

But Daniel 2:44-45, interpreting Daniel 2:34-35, also refers to the kingdom of Christ itself breaking in pieces and consuming all the kingdoms comprising the one world kingdom of that day (cf. Revelation 11:15).  The Stone, after smiting the image, will become “a great mountain” and fill the whole earth.

In this respect, the King of the kingdom is not to be thought of apart from His kingdom.  All the various facets of His person and work, set forth in detail throughout Old Testament Scripture, have an end in view; and that end is the day when He will rule and reign over the earth.

Christ’s finished work at Calvary and His present work as High Priest — foretold in the Old Testament — have the same end in view.  The Savior, who is presently exercising the office of High Priest, was born King (Matthew 2:2).  And the coming King and His Kingdom, in the overall scope of the matter, become inseparable; and this is the reason they can be spoken of in synonymous terms, as in Daniel 2.

2)  HEBREWS 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2, in the light of other Scripture, presents the same picture.  In this section of Scripture a person is told to look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

The thought from the Greek text is literally to look “from [from the things in the surrounding world system, the present kingdom under Satan], to Jesus . . . .”  But yet other Scriptures exhort us to look from this present world system “to the mountain [signifying the coming kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:35)]” (cf. Genesis 13:10-12; 19:1, 17).

Are we to look to Jesus?  Or are we to look to the Mountain?  The correct biblical answer would center on the thought that a person, within a proper biblical perspective, cannot look to One apart from looking to the Other.  That would be to say, in a proper biblical perspective, we cannot really look “from, to Jesus” apart from seeing Him in connection with His coming kingdom; and, conversely, we cannot really fix our eyes on “the mountain,” the kingdom, apart from seeing the King of the kingdom.

When Hebrews 12:2 states, “Looking from, to Jesus . . . .” the thought would have to include, as well, the same thing contained in the remainder of the verse.  Christ,

. . . for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame [considering it a thing of little import in comparison to the joy set before Him], and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The “joy that was set before Him” had to do with that day when He would rule and reign (cf. Matthew 25:21, 23).  Christ had His eyes fixed on that day as He endured present sufferings; and we are to fix our eyes on the One who left us an example, after this same fashion, as we endure present sufferings.

Christ, at the time of His sufferings on Calvary, had His eyes fixed on the coming kingdom, the day of His exaltation and glory.  And that is exactly the place — the same place — we should have our eyes fixed as we look “from, to Jesus” during present sufferings.

He left us an example that we “should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  His eyes were fixed on that which lay ahead.

And, as has been demonstrated, in the true biblical sense of the command, there can be no such thing as a Christian fixing his eyes on Jesus apart from seeing both the King and His Kingdom.

9)  Parables, Figurative Language

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed.  Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 

And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.” (Daniel 7:1-3)

The same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.

And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables . . . . (Matthew 13:1-3a)

Parables and figurative language (metaphors and other types of figurative expressions) are often thought of somewhat together, for parables usually employ a number of figurative expressions.  But, whether appearing together or not, neither ever appears alone, apart from related Scripture.

Parables reflect on previous Scripture.  They are given to explain, add further light to previously revealed truth.  And the figurative expressions employed in parables or elsewhere in Scripture are always used after such a fashion that either the context renders them self-explanatory or they are explained in other portions of Scripture.

Individuals in the Western world do not normally think or express themselves in parabolic or figurative fashions nearly as much as individuals in the Eastern world.  It is quite common for those in the East to speak somewhat in parabolic senses or use figurative language extensively, but less common for individuals in the West.  In this respect, it sometimes becomes more difficult for those in the West to grasp certain things in Scripture when it comes to parables and figurative language than those in the East, who tend to automatically think along these lines.

(This is also why those in the West often have similar problems with types and antitypes in Scripture.  They find it difficult to think along these related lines as well.  But for those in the East, seeing types and antitypes [or seeing parables or figurative expressions] are seeing that which is second-nature to the way they think.  And this would go hand-in-hand with the manner in which God structured and made known His Word to man, given in a part of the world where this type of use of language was well known, a use that has been carried down into modern times in the East.

This is not to say that God simply gave His Word to a people after the manner in which they thought and used language.  Rather, it is to say that God, over centuries of time, brought into existence a people in the Middle East whose thoughts and use of language followed a manner in which He desired to communicate His Word to man.

This would be similar to how God brought about the means that He desired to use to record His Word in what we know today as the New Testament.  This part of His Word was originally recorded in Koine Greek [koine, a Greek word meaning “common” — Kione Greek, a common language among the people].  This was a language in use throughout the Roman world in the first century, possibly being the most accurately expressive language human history has ever known.

God began to bring the use of Koine Greek in the later Roman world to pass through Alexander the Great’s conquests in the Middle East in the fourth century B.C., allowing Koine Greek [the language used by these conquering armies] to progressively spread and eventually become a chief means of communication throughout that part of the world.  And, when the New Testament was penned in the first century A.D., this allowed God to have this particular means of communication at hand, ready for use by both those recording and those reading His Word.)

Parables and the use of figurative expressions — as the use of types in Scripture — form different methods of the way God gave His revelation to man.  Parables and figurative expressions form necessary parts of this revelation and are given after particular God ordained fashions, in order to form the complete canon of Scripture, exactly as God would have it exist. They form integral parts of Scripture — parts of the whole — apart from which other portions of Scripture cannot be properly understood.

Then, putting it all together, one can, so to speak, run all the checks and balances he wants to run through “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — whether parables, figurative language, types, etc. — and he will always end up with the same uniformity and consistency throughout.  He must, for he is dealing with a divine revelation which, in actuality, has only one Author;  and this revelation emanated from an infinite, omniscient mind wherein nonuniformity and inconsistency cannot exist.

And that will speak volumes when it comes to the interpretation of parables, figurative language, and types.  These simply form different methods that God used to communicate His Word to man; and the inexhaustible nature of that which is dealt with in the Word of God is no different in parables, figurative language, or types as it is in any other part of the Word.

Any part of the Word forms just as much a part of the Word as any other part.  Parables, figurative language, and types must be looked upon after this fashion, for the whole of Scripture forms one complete, divine revelation — given “in various ways [‘in many ways'] . . . in time past” (Hebrews 1:1) — which can only be perfect, to the minutest detail, in every respect.

PARABLES

A scattering of parables can be found in the Old Testament (e.g., Judges 9:7-15; 2 Samuel 12:1-4; Isaiah 5:1-7), but parables are seen in their fullest use in the gospel accounts of the New Testament, during the latter part of Christ’s earthly ministry.  And parables appear at this point in Christ’s ministry for a revealed reason and purpose.

Christ began to use parables during His earthly ministry only after Israel had rejected the offer of the kingdom of the heavens.  Parables were first used after the events recorded in Matthew 12, having to do with the blasphemous act of the scribes and the Pharisees against the Holy Spirit.

And that will speak volumes when it comes to the interpretation of parables, figurative language, and types.  These simply form different methods that God used to communicate His Word to man; and the inexhaustible nature of that which is dealt with in the Word of God is no different in parables, figurative language, or types as it is in any other part of the Word.

Any part of the Word forms just as much a part of the Word as any other part.  Parables, figurative language, and types must be looked upon after this fashion, for the whole of Scripture forms one complete, divine revelation — given “in various ways . . . in time past” — which can only be perfect, to the minutest detail, in every respect.

And, by/through committing an act of this nature, these religious leaders had gone too far.  They, in their rejection of the King and the kingdom, had acted after a fashion that necessitated Christ announcing that this sin would not be forgiven them (which would also include the nation at large, for they controlled the religious life of the people), “either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

(Note that Christ was performing miraculous works by/through the power of the Spirit, though He Himself was in full possession of His Deity [cf. Matthew 16:21; Luke 22:61; John 1:48; 2:18-21; 18:5-8; Acts 20:28], being God of very God and omnipotent.  Why was Christ performing these miraculous works by/through the power of the Spirit when He Himself possessed the power to perform them?

The answer can be seen in Genesis 1:2b ff, by the Father having previously performed works in relation to the Spirit after the same fashion, at the beginning, showing the manner in which actions of the triune Godhead are brought to pass.  This forms a first-mention principle within the types; and the Son, at a later time, would not — He could not — act after a different fashion than the Father in this respect.

Thus, though Christ was fully capable of performing miraculous works within His own power, He couldn’t act after this fashion and remain within the confines of the manner in which Scripture is structured.  His actions had to be in complete keeping with that set forth and established at the beginning, in Genesis.  The unchangeable pattern had been set 4,000 years prior to that time, and the Son could only act in complete accord with this established pattern.)

Christ’s statement relative to Israel not being forgiven throughout two ages for the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit would encompass time covered by both the present age and the Messianic Era.  This would include time covered in the antitype of the whole of the seven days in the opening two chapters of Genesis — man’s 6,000-year day (one age, covered by the six days), and the 1,000-year Lord’s Day (a subsequent age, covered by the seventh day).

And, for all practical purposes, this was the point in Scripture where the proffered kingdom was taken from Israel, though the announcement was not made until near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew 21:43).

According to Matthew 12:31-32; 21:33-45, Israel, throughout time covered by any part of the six and seven days, the six and seven thousand years, would be estranged from having any part in the proffered kingdom of the heavens.  This portion of the kingdom would be taken from Israel and would be “given to a nation bearing the fruits of it,” a nation that would, during the seventh day, the seventh one-thousand-year period, realize heavenly promises and blessings.

Once the kingdom had been taken from Israel, there was then a need for the extensive use of parables in Christ’s earthly ministry, something that would have been out of place prior to that time.  And an introduction and use of parables immediately following Israel’s climactic rejection of the King and the kingdom, followed by Christ’s removal of the kingdom from Israel, is exactly what occurred.  Immediately after the events of Matthew 12, Christ departed from the house, went down by the seaside, and began to speak to the multitudes in parables.

Note Matthew 13:1 in this respect:

The same day [referring to the time of the events back in Matthew 12] went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside.

The symbolism, the figurative expressions — in keeping with that which had occurred and that which is stated in Matthew 21:43 — is essentially prophetic in nature and has to do with Christ departing from Israel (departing from “the house,” having to do with Israel) and going to “a nation” that was not Jewish, but mainly of Gentile origin (going down by “the sea,” foreshadowing His going to the Gentiles [cf. Acts 15:14; Romans 11:25]).  And that which had been offered to Israel — the kingdom of the heavens — after having been taken from Israel was to be offered to this other nation (cf. Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9).

The parables given by the seaside following Christ’s departure from the house are to be understood in this light, as are the subsequent parables in His ministry.  They all have to do, essentially, with some facet of the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens; and the different facets of this message within the parables center mainly on the Church (future) rather than on Israel (past or present).

Note the preceding in the first of the parables, the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-9.  This parable has to do with four types of individuals sown out in the world, with a view to their bringing forth fruit for the kingdom.  And in the interpretation (Matthew 13:18-23), this whole overall message is specifically called “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19) — having to do with “the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 13:11) — which would be associated with “the gospel of the glory of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ASV; cf. Acts 20:25, 32), not with “the gospel of the grace of God” in Ephesians 2:8-9 (cf. Acts 20:24, 28).

(In the parable of the Sower, for a correct understanding of that which is in view, translate the words “received seed,” or “received the seed,” in Matthew 13:19-20, 22-23 KJV as “was sown.”  That is, “This is he who was sown . . . .”  In each case, the Lord sows [places] a saved individual at some point in the world, with a view to that individual bringing forth fruit in relation to the proffered kingdom [cf. Matthew 13:3, 37-38 ASV].)

And, at this point in Christ’s earthly ministry, Israel could no longer bring forth fruit relative to the kingdom of the heavens.  Only the Church, which was about to be called into existence, could do this (a completely new entity that would be mainly of Gentile origin.)

With Christ’s departure from the house and His going down by the seaside — symbolizing His departure from Israel (the house) and His going to the Gentiles (the seaside) — the backdrop is set for this beginning parable.  This parable can only have to do with the Church in relation to the kingdom of the heavens and fruit-bearing, not with Israel in relation to either one.

Then, the reason for parables, in response to the disciples’ question, is given immediately following the parable of the Sower, prior to the interpretation of the parable (Matthew 13:10-17).  Parables were given to further explain previously revealed truths; but whether or not the hearer understood the additional truths brought out by the parables was contingent upon whether or not the person had accepted the previously revealed truths.  The latter was completely dependent on the former, which is why two classes of individuals were singled out in the Lord’s stated reason concerning why He spoke in parables at this time (those who understood, and those who didn’t understand).

(Note that the last three parables in Matthew chapter thirteen were given back inside the house, showing that Israel, regardless of circumstances, cannot be removed from the overall picture [Matthew 13:36, 44-50; cf. Romans 11:11-26]. 

But, in relation to the kingdom of the heavens, Israel could only be as the fruitless fig tree in Matthew 21:18-19.  Israel cannot now bring forth fruit in relation to this facet of the kingdom.  For additional information along the preceding lines, refer to the author’s book, Mysteries of the Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood.)

1)  The Interpretation of Parables

The English word “parable” is an Anglicized form of the Greek word parabole, which is a compound word comprised of para (meaning, “alongside”) and bole (meaning, “to place,” or “to cast”).  Thus, parabole simply means “to place [or ‘to cast’] alongside.” The word, when used relative to biblical teaching, refers to additional truths placed alongside of previously revealed truths in order to provide further light concerning the prior truths.

In this respect, parables in Scripture and the previous truths to which they relate are somewhat like types and antitypes.  One will help explain the other, for both relate to counterparts.  And a rejection of one will negatively reflect on one’s understanding of the other.

So, what can be said about the interpretation of parables?  The same thing that can be said about the interpretation of types can also be said about the interpretation of parables.  Types and parables must be interpreted after the same fashion as that to which they relate is to be interpreted.  And that to which they relate, generally, are not types or parables, though one type or parable could relate to another type or parable.  But, with the existence of the latter, there must also exist a non-typical or a non-parabolic section of Scripture back behind that to which all the types or parables on a particular subject would relate.

A parable is not simply “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning,” as some state; nor, as stated by others, is a parable given only to illustrate “one central truth,” from which “details” cannot be gleaned.

The first statement really says nothing when it comes to the true nature of parables, and the second statement runs completely contrary to any correct thought about parables when viewed strictly from a Scriptural standpoint.

The reason for parables, as previously stated, was given by Christ Himself when He first began to teach by/through the use of parables (Matthew 13:10-17).  Christ used parables during the latter part of His earthly ministry in order to reveal additional truths to those who had received His prior teachings, for, having received truths previously revealed they could then understand the additional related truths taught by the parables.

However, through this method of teaching, these additional truths were meaningless to those who had rejected His prior teachings.  They had no point of reference, leaving the parables to stand alone; and, resultantly, they couldn’t understand that which was being taught.

(And teachings with this type of dependency on other Scripture is not at all peculiar to the parables.  Note the central subject matter of the parables in Matthew 13 — the Word of the Kingdom, and fruit-bearing in relation to the kingdom.  Unless a person has some type of foundational understanding of this overall subject, he cannot begin at this point and expect to properly understand the subject at hand.  He has no foundation as a point of reference, upon which he can build.  After all, these parables appear at a point part way through the book of Matthew, and they are removed much farther yet from the foundational truths set forth by Moses in the beginning.

This will explain why certain biblical truths appear relatively simple for one person but seem next to impossible to grasp for another person.  Understanding things relating to the Word of the Kingdom, for one “instructed concerning the kingdom of the heavens” [Matthew 13:19, 52] may appear relatively simple and easy.  But for one not so instructed, the matter would not be that way at all.

And this is why God placed all of these foundational truths at the beginning of His revelation to man.  God expects man to begin where He began, at the beginning of His revelation.  And this is where man must begin if he is to properly understand the foundational truths as God set them forth, allowing a person to then correctly build thereon.)

The extent to which different parables deal with revealed truths could vary.  A parable could reveal numerous detailed truths, providing numerous points of additional information to help explain the previously revealed truths (Scripture reveals nothing that would limit the use of parables in this respect).  On the other hand though, the revealed, detailed truths covered in some parables could be considerably less than revealed, detailed truths covered in other parables.

They would be very much like types in this respect.  A particular type deals with truth relating to only part of a complete picture (all the types together form the complete picture), but types vary as to the amount and what part of the complete picture each portrays.

The method of the interpretation of parables, as also previously stated, is simple.  Though quite a bit of symbolism is usually involved (as is also present numerous other places in Scripture, types included), parables are to be interpreted and understood after the same fashion as the Scriptures to which they relate.  As in the interpretation of types and antitypes, parables are to be interpreted in conjunction with their counterparts in other sections of Scripture.

The parable is not to be interpreted one way and that to which it relates another way, as the type is not to be interpreted one way and the antitype another way.  In each instance, both are to be understood and interpreted in the light of one another after the same fashion as that to which they relate, and contrariwise, for they form inseparable units

The type and antitype, or the parable and the prior portion of Scripture to which it relates, in each case, deals with the same thing and is to be looked upon and understood after the same fashion.

Thus, to place parables in their correct perspective — beginning where Christ began, with His first parable — note that to which the previously revealed truth pertained and that to which Christ’s beginning parables pertained, that must, of necessity, be the same.

a)  Christ’s Preceding Ministry

Christ’s ministry prior to the beginning of His use of parables was taken up almost exclusively with the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel.  True, He was presented during this time as the Savior, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Matthew 1:21; John 1:29); but, though He was presented this way at times, His ministry, prior to the introduction of parables, centered on two things:

1. The presentation of Himself as the Messianic King.

2. The offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel (cf. Matthew 2:1-2; 3:1-2; 4:17, 23-25; 5:1ff; Matthew 6:33; 7:21-23; 8:1ff; Matthew 9:1ff; Matthew 10:1-8).

(Note that the salvation, deliverance, in view had to do with the Christ as King and the proffered kingdom, not with Christ as the Paschal Lamb.

In the central Old Testament type dealing with the matter [the Israelites under Moses], this would have to do with the land of their inheritance [removed from Egypt], not with the paschal lambs slain in Egypt.  And Christ’s ministry to Israel at His first coming could be carried out in a manner seen in this part of the type because redeemed individuals were being dealt with, not those without spiritual life, incapable of being able to understand spiritual truth.

Had this not been the case, the Israelites at Christ first coming would have had to initially be dealt with as God had to initially deal with the Israelites under Moses — on the basis of the death of the firstborn in Egypt [Exodus 11; 12].  But this is not what was done at all.

The Jewish people, at the time of Christ’s first coming, were dealt with in the antitype of Moses’ dealings with the Jewish people in connection with and beyond the Red Sea passage, not in connection with the antitype of Moses’ prior dealings with the Jewish people in relation to the death of the firstborn in Egypt [the death of the firstborn seen, vicariously, through the death and shed blood of the paschal lambs — exactly as it is seen today through the death and shed blood of the Paschal Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ].

This alone would address the issue and answer the question concerning the spiritual status of the Jewish people at the time of Christ’s first coming.  They, like so many Christians in the Church today, were eternally saved but in a spiritually decadent condition, failing to know or understand their own Scriptures, and, consequently, in no position to heed these Scriptures.)

It was only after Israel’s climactic rejection of the King and the proffered kingdom in Matthew 12 that the events of Calvary began to come more and more into the forefront and occupy a central place in Christ’s earthly ministry (cf. Matthew 12:40; 16:4, 21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 21:33-39).

But note that the parables reflect back on Christ’s teachings during the first part of His ministry — teachings during that time when the kingdom of the heavens was offered to Israel, not during the following part of His ministry when the events of Calvary began to come more and more into the forefront.  This is the way parables not only begin in the gospel accounts (Matthew 13:1ff) but remain as well; and this can be easily seen by following Christ’s use of parables from beginning to end (cf. Matthew 21:33-43; 22:1-14; 24:40-25:30).

Thus, since the parables reflect on Christ’s ministry during that period in which the kingdom of the heavens was offered to Israel and anticipate a new nation — the Church — being called into existence, they should be understood after a dual fashion.  They should be understood:

1. With Israel and the kingdom of the heavens in view.

2. With the new nation and the kingdom of the heavens in view (a nation that is neither Jewish nor Gentile, but a new creation, one new manin Christ,” which would be granted the privilege of bringing forth fruit in relation to the kingdom of the heavens).

b)  The Goal in View

Basic issues surrounding the salvation that we presently possess enter into the subject matter within parables only to the extent that such is necessary for the parables to show, within a correct perspective, the purpose for man’s salvation, the reason man has been saved.

That would be to say, there has to be a beginning point — salvation, the passing of the man “from death to life” (John 5:24).  And the parables sometimes drop back to this point and deal with man’s salvation in order to place the message surrounding the kingdom within its proper perspective in relation to man being redeemed.  But the parables, in keeping with all other Scripture, deal mainly with issues beyond this point, issues having to do with the saving of the soul.

To state the matter another way, though teachings within the parables center mainly around the saving of the soul (which reflects back on and draws from events during days two through six of the original type [Genesis 1:6-25]), the passing of man “from death to lifemust occur first (which reflects back on and draws from events during day one of the original type [Genesis 1:2-5 {2b}]).  And events surrounding the salvation that we presently possess (events occurring first) are sometimes dealt with in the parables in order to present matters surrounding the salvation of the soul in their proper perspective (as Christ was, at times, presented as “the Lamb of God” during the first part of His ministry — during the time He offered the kingdom of the heavens to Israel — for an apparent similar reason).

And comparing the original type (Genesis 1:1-2:3) with the whole of the antitype (the whole of Scripture), everything set forth through events of the first six days always anticipated events of the seventh day.  Thus, it matters not where teachings begin in the parables (whether pertaining to man’s salvation or to issues beyond), the goal toward which everything moves is always the same

The goal always has to do with the seventh day, the earth’s coming Sabbath, the Messianic Era — a fundamental truth established in the original type, in the opening two chapters of Genesis, which must remain unchanged throughout Scripture.

2)  The Value of Parables

Recognizing the value of parables is simple, and it can be stated in terms equally as simple.  As previously stated, parables provide further light, that is they help explain previously revealed truth.  That’s really their sole purpose, and that’s why the Lord used them

Parables constitute part of the different ways in which Scripture has been structured.  They simply form additional revelation given to man, after a particular fashion, in order to help man see and understand the larger picture covered by the whole of Scripture.

a) Given During a Transitional Period

The parables in the New Testament are quite unique.  They fit within that period between the removal of the kingdom of the heavens from Israel (removed following the events in Matthew 12, though not announced until Matthew 21:43) and the calling into existence of the Church to be the recipient of that facet of the kingdom removed from Israel.  And the parables, not only fitting within this period but also having to do with the kingdom of the heavens, reflect upon that which had happened to Israel (in relation to this facet of the kingdom) and anticipate the Church being called into existence (also in relation to this facet of the kingdom).

Thus, the parables within the gospel accounts become a primary means that God uses to reveal truths surrounding the kingdom of the heavens during a transitional period as these truths pertain to both Israel and the Church.  The parables, given during that period between the removal of the kingdom from Israel and the calling into existence of the Church to be the recipient of that which was taken from Israel, could be viewed in a fourfold aspect:

1. They look back to Israel.

2. They have to do with the kingdom of the heavens.

3. They are essentially prophetic in nature.

4. They concern themselves mainly with the Church yet future.

(As previously seen, the parables are truths placed alongside of previous truths to provide additional light.  But in the sense that they fit within a transitional period and have to do mainly with the kingdom of the heavens in relation to the Church yet future, they actually relate previous truths to present and future truths.  They take previous truths surrounding Israel and the kingdom of the heavens and relate these truths to the Church, about to be called into existence.

That is, the parables take truths having to do with Israel and the kingdom in past time and present truths having to do with the Church and the kingdom in future time [future from the time when the parables were given, i.e., referring to time throughout the present dispensation and beyond].  They help explain previously revealed truths surrounding the kingdom of the heavens as these truths now relate to the Church.

And these truths center on “the word of the kingdom” [Matthew 13:8, 22-23], which has to do with fruit-bearing [Matthew 13:19], with the Messianic Era in view [Matthew 13:19-23; 24:47-51; 25:19-30]).

b)  Different Parables

Note again the very first of the parables in this respect, the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9).  This parable has to do with fruit-bearing in relation to the kingdom of the heavens (cf. Matthew 13:11, 19, 22-23).  This would be a reflection on the previous message concerning fruit-bearing as it pertained to Israel and the kingdom, and the parable would relate this past fruit-bearing to a future fruit bearing as it would pertain to the Church and the kingdom (cf. Matthew 3:8; 21:19, 34, 41, 43).

That would be to say, because of the immediately preceding events (in Mathew 12), events set forth in the parable could no longer have to do with Israel bringing forth fruit, for Israel could no longer bring forth fruit relative to the kingdom of the heavens.  Thus, events in the parable, of necessity, would have to do with the new “nation” — the Church — about to be called into existence and mentioned shortly thereafter (Matthew 16:18, cf. 1 Peter 2:9-11).

And the parable itself, consisting of one truth placed alongside of a previous truth, would simply relate things past to things future — things having to do with Israel and the kingdom (past) to things having to do with the Church and the kingdom (future). 

Or, take the parable of the marriage festival in Matthew 22:1-14 to illustrate a somewhat different facet of the matter, though still remaining within the thought of one truth being placed alongside of a previous truth.

In this parable, mention is made of the offer of the kingdom to and the rejection of the kingdom by Israel first (Matthew 22:2-7 [note also that Matthew 22:7 anticipates events of 70 A.D., about thirty-seven years later, which were future destructive events resulting from Israel’s past rejection]).  Then the remainder of the parable pertains to the Church (Matthew 22:8-14).  And one previous truth to which the parable relates can be found in Matthew 8:11-12, the only prior mention of “outer darkness.”

In Matthew 8:11-12, outer darkness, a negative aspect of the message having to do with the kingdom of the heavens, had to do with those in Israel; but in Matthew 22:8-14, outer darkness is used to pertain to those in the Church (though not yet called into existence), those to whom the kingdom was to be offered following Israel’s rejection.  This is how parables form additional truths placed alongside of previously revealed truths in order to cast additional light on the previous truths, light that invariably has to do with some aspect of how the offer of the kingdom now relates to the Church.

(The whole of the matter surrounding Israel’s rejection [as set forth in Matthew 22:2-7] can be seen in the previous chapter of the gospel of Matthew in the parable leading into the announcement concerning the kingdom being taken from Israel, in the parable of the Householder and His vineyard [Matthew 21:33-41; cf. Matthew 21:42-45].  And this parable reflects back on a large segment of Israel’s history, which reached an apex [as it pertained to unfaithfulness] through the events of Matthew 12, which led to and anticipated that which is seen throughout succeeding chapters, leading to the crucifixion [cf. Matthew 23:37-39].)

Then in the Olivet Discourse parables (Matthew 24:32-25:30) everything is projected out into the future.  These parables begin with a reference to Israel (Matthew 24:32-36), seen in the latter days (during the Tribulation) with “leavesbut no fruit.  In relation to the kingdom of the heavens, Israel will not be allowed to bear fruit; but in relation to the earthly segment of the kingdom, Israel will one day be very fruitful.  And this parable reflects back on — providing additional light for — that seen in the preceding part of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:3-31).

The parables then continue with a reference to the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39).  The judgment of the Flood, as seen in Genesis 6; 7; 8, appears as the central subject from which foundational truths pertaining to “the coming of the Son of Man” are drawn. 

The “Flood,” in the typical structure of Genesis 5-9, foreshadows the coming Tribulation (with “Israel,” typified by Noah, passing safely through the Tribulation).  Thus, that which is seen in the parable referencing the days of Noah provides additional information relating to the preceding parable and that to which it relates — information particularly surrounding Israel during the Tribulation.

(For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books: Had Ye Believed Moses by Arlen Chitwood and Seven, Ten Generations by Arlen Chitwood.)

Then, the remaining four parables (Matthew 24:40-25:30), having to do with the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 25:1), have to do with those to whom the kingdom was offered following that time when it was taken from Israel.  These parables can only have to do with Christians (though the one new manin Christ” had yet to be called into existence), for, since the kingdom of the heavens is in view, these parables cannot possibly relate to Israel.

These parables have to do with Christian activity during the present dispensation, in relation to judgment and the outcome of that judgment at a future time (referring to events surrounding the judgment seat of Christ and beyond). 

And the entirety of that which is dealt with in these parables has to do with the kingdom that follows (the kingdom of the heavens, which is not only the central subject throughout Matthew’s gospel [and the other gospel accounts] but is clearly stated to be the central subject during the course of these parables).

And, beyond the preceding, each of these parables has to do with different facets of truth dealing with the same subject.  Note for example how the last of these four parables, the parable of the talents, begins in Matthew 25:14 NASB.  Literally, from the Greek text, the verse would read:

For it [the parable of the ten virgins immediately preceding] is just as a man . . . .

That which follows in the parable of the talents is simply another facet of that which has proceeded in the parable of the ten virgins.  It is an explanation of the preceding parable, using another parable.  That is to say, the parable of the talents has been placed alongside the parable of the ten virgins to provide additional light, to help explain the parable of the ten virgins.

And that is the manner in which all four of the parables in Matthew 24:40-25:30 are structured.  The first would be placed alongside of preceding revelation to help explain that revelation.  Then each of the following three parables would be placed alongside of a preceding parable to help explain that parable.

Thus, to summarize, the parables in the gospel accounts have to do with both Israel and Christians in relation to the kingdom of the heavens.  In this respect, they are inseparably connected with the removal of the kingdom from Israel and the offer of the kingdom to “a nation bearing the fruits of it”; and they provide innumerable truths surrounding the offer of the kingdom to this new nation, drawing from the previous offer to Israel.

To overlook, ignore, misunderstand, or limit the use of parables is to fail, in varying extents, to provide oneself with a series of explanatory helps that the Lord has provided.  And doing such will always be to one’s own detriment in biblical study. 

A parable could not be separated from a type in relation to content and accuracy, for both have the same origin, and both, after some fashion, always relate to the same central subject (the direction toward which all Scripture moves, the seventh day, the earth’s coming Sabbath).

F. B. Meyer’s statement concerning types — “Types are as accurate as mathematics” — could equally apply to parables, or any other part of Scripture (metaphors, etc.).  And, as types, parables could be carried to an nth degree in interpretation and never break down or be exhausted.  Types break down and parabolic interpretation is exhausted only in the minds of finite man.

God established both, as well as everything else in His Word; and He established the whole of His Word perfectly, in the beginning.

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Figurative language really need not occupy that much space in this study.  Figurative language is used extensively throughout Scripture — in types, parables, and elsewhere.  But one is never left to his own imagination insofar as interpretation is concerned.

Scripture itself always provides the interpretation, as in the interpretation of types, parables, or any other portion of Scripture.

Scripture is always completely consistent when it uses language in a figurative manner.  There is always uniformity throughout.  “Leaven,” for example, is always used the same way.  A “mountain,” the “sea,” “Egypt,” “Canaan,” etc. always represent the same things. 

And the figurative expressions never detract from the literality of the subject matter under discussion, no more so than types or parables detract from the literality of that to which they relate.  Things very real are depicted through the use of figurative expressions, things just as literal as that seen in the Scriptures to which the expressions relate.

Note the extensive use of figurative language in accounts such as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the “great image” in Daniel 2:31-35, Daniel’s vision of the “four great beasts” in Daniel 7:2-7, or the use of a “dragon,” “woman,” and “man child” in Revelation 12:1-5 to depict different things, the interpretation of figurative language is always revealed other places in Scripture (cf. Daniel 2:36-45; 7:16ff; Revelation 12:6ff).  The whole of a matter can often be depicted and developed to a fuller extent, in concise form, through the use of pictorial, descriptive language.  God can use numbers and metaphors to state volumes in a very succinct manner, which is exactly what He does.

Matthew 17:1-5 would present a good example of a figurative expression appearing in a type, with the whole event both reflecting back on the original type in the opening two chapters of Genesis and pointing to something very real out ahead.  It was after six days, on the seventh day, that Christ took Peter, James, and John up on “a high mountain” and was “transfigured before them.”  The “high mountain” is used in the type in a figurative sense, representing a kingdom, the coming kingdom of Christ (cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:31-45). 

And the kingdom will appear, as in the type, after six days (after 6,000 years) on the seventh day (on the seventh 1,000-year period), which reflects back on and draws from the original type in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

1)  The Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24:45-51 KJV would present a good example of figurative language used in a parable, with the same figurative language used in another section in this discourse (non-parabolic) after the same fashion.  Note the use of “meat” in Matthew 24:45 KJV and also in Hebrews 5:12 KJV, Hebrews 5:14 KJV.  Both refer to the same thing, as does the use of “meat” after this fashion in any other portion of Scripture.  “Meat,” used after this fashion, is always a reference to biblical teachings, referring particularly to things surrounding Christ’s return and the establishment of His kingdom (cf. Matthew 24:46-47 KJV; Hebrews 5:10-14 KJV).

Then, note the same thing is seen in Matthew 25:31-46 KJV:

A judgment of the unsaved, with eternal verities in view, could not possibly be the subject at hand in this passage of Scripture (cf. Matthew 25:41, 46).  Both the text and the context have to do with realizing or not realizing an inheritance in the kingdom, which would limit this judgment to the saved alone, having nothing to do with eternal verities.

Note Romans 8:17:  “And if children, then heirs . . . .”

Sheep” and “goats” (Matthew 25:32-33), can only be understood contextually as a metaphorical way of describing the two classes of saved individuals, similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30.  The unsaved and eternal verities simply cannot be in view in either passage.  Rather, in both passages, only the saved, with a view to an inheritance or non-inheritance in the kingdom, can be in view.  Compare that which the King states to those on His right hand (Matthew 25:34-40 KJV) as opposed to that which He states to those on His left hand (Matthew 25:41-46 KJV).

(The words “everlasting” and “eternal” in Matthew 25:41, 46 are translations of the Greek word aionios and would, in the light of Matthew 25:34, have to be understood as “age-lasting,” not “eternal” as it has been translated in most versions of Scripture.

Neither the Hebrew of the Old Testament nor the Greek of the New Testament contains a word for “eternal.”  Olam is the word translated “eternal,” “everlasting,” or “perpetual” in English translations of the Old Testament, and aion [a noun] or aionios [the adjective form of aion] are the words translated “eternal” or “everlasting” in the New Testament [also there is aidios, an older form of aionios, used two times and meaning exactly the same as aionios (Romans 1:20 and Jude 1:6)].

Olam, aion, and aionios all have to do with “a long period of time,” which, if the context permits, can refer to “eternity” [e.g., the aionios God in Romans 16:26].  But the words standing alone, apart from a context, cannot be understood as “eternal.”  Context is the all-important factor to ascertain the length of time in view when these words are used.

Aion and aionios are usually thought of and used numerous times in the New Testament in the sense of “an age.”  And a usage of this nature is even brought over into English.  For example, the English word “aeon [or ‘eon’]” is derived from the Greek word aion.

The only way in which the Greek text can express “eternal” apart from textual considerations is through a use of aion in the plural [e.g., Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8, referring to “the ages,” i.e., ages without end, which would comprise eternity] or a double use of aion,  in the plural and articular both times [e.g., Revelation 1:6; 4:9-10, referring to “the ages of the ages,” again, ages without end].

And the use of aionios in Matthew 25:41, 46 [the adjective form of the noun, aion, meaning exactly the same], referring to an inverse of that seen in Matthew 25:34 [failing to realize an inheritance in the kingdom] can only be understood as “age-lasting.” It can only be understood in connection with the outcome of a judgment of unfaithful saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation.

For additional information on the preceding, refer to 5) Ages and Dispensations in this book.)

The extensive use of “metaphors” in sections of Scripture such as Matthew 13; 24; 25 must be recognized.  Note, for example, “meat” in both Matthew 24:45 KJV (previously discussed) and Matthew 25:35 KJV, Matthew 25:42 KJV, are all part of the same discourse.

The use of “meat” is clearly metaphorical in Matthew 24 KJV [referring to that which is spiritual, the Word of God], when dealing with the judgment of a servant; and the servant rendering an account at the time of his Lord’s return is with a view to regality (realizing or not realizing a position with Christ in the kingdom [cf. Luke 12:42-48 KJV]).  Why should the matter be viewed after any different fashion in Matthew 25 KJV when also dealing with a judgment of individuals at the time of the Lord’s return, with a view to inheritance in the kingdom (exactly the same as the regality previously seen in Matthew 24 KJV, though stated in a different manner)?

Understanding the preceding after this fashion (which, in reality, is the only contextually correct way to view this section of Scripture) will, again, show that only saved individuals can possibly be in view throughout Matthew 25:31-46 KJV.  Both those depicted by the “sheep” and the “goats” are seen as being in a position to dispense “meat,” “drink.”  Unsaved man cannot occupy a position of this nature.
 
There is no such thing in Scripture as a judgment of unsaved Gentiles at the end of Man’s Day, prior to the millennium.  Rather, the millennium itself will form their judgment in this respect, for the millennium will simply be 1,000 years of a righteous judgment, when Christ and His co-heirs will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

2)  The Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation, throughout, uses numbers and metaphors perhaps more extensively than any other section of Scripture of comparable length.  And much of the misinterpretation and mishandling of this book is due, in no small part, to man mishandling the numerical and metaphorical aspect of the book.

The book of Revelation is about God bringing His Word to a close by/through opening up and completely removing any remaining veil surrounding His Son.  And note how this is done in this book.  It is done through an extensive use of particularly numbers and metaphors.

There are “seven churches,” with an “angel” over each church; and this (the number seven) shows a completion concerning God’s angelic ministry in the churches during the dispensation, with the seven churches showing the complete Church, all Christians (Revelation 1; 2; 3).

There are “seven seals,” “seven trumpets,” and “seven vials” of wrath, showing divine perfection (the number three) within God’s complete judgment (the number seven) upon Israel and the Gentile nations (Revelation 6-11; 15; 16).

There are four horsemen, which cover the complete panorama of the matter (four, the number of the earth [Revelation 6]).  There are mountains, islands, a Beast, a harlot woman, Babylon, the sun, the moon, the stars — just to name a few — all used in metaphorical senses (Revelation 1; 6; 12; 13; 16; 17; 18).  And God’s use of language in this respect must not only be recognized at this point in Scripture but elsewhere as well (note particularly the book of Daniel in this same respect.

If a person does recognize God’s use of language in this respect, he can interpret correctly, following the manner in which God has structured and given His Word to man; if a person does not do so, he will invariably find himself lost in a sea of misinterpretation.

Whether types, parables, figurative language, or any other method that God has used in His revelation to man, a person is never left in the dark or to his own imagination in interpreting and understanding the passages.  God has provided other Scripture to cast light upon, help explain, that which He has revealed through different methods at different times, through different individuals.

The whole of biblical study is, in one respect, really that simply.  Simply pay attention to how God has structured and given His Word, along with that which the Word states.

(For additional information on the book of Revelation in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End [a commentary on the book of Revelation in this site].)

10)  Studying, Proclaiming the Word

Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)

The Scriptures given to man through man reveal the mind of God.  And God’s thoughts and ways are invariably quite different than man’s thoughts and ways.  God thinks and does things from an infinite perspective, on an entirely different plane from that of finite, fallen man.

The difference between the infinite and the finite in this respect, in Scripture, is compared to the difference between the heavens and the earth.  God states,

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The earth, the home of finite, fallen man, rests under a curse (Genesis 3:17-19).  But the heavens — the heavens beyond our solar system (and galaxy), the heavens in which God dwells — are far removed from the realm covered by the curse.  And God uses a contrast between the two in order to show the wide, unbridgeable gulf which separates His thoughts and ways from man’s thoughts and ways.

(In the preceding respect, note that the future destruction of the heavens [along with the earth, followed by the creation of a new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:7-13)], must be thought of only in connection with the one solar system in which man lives — the sun with its nine revolving planets.

In Genesis 1:2, the sin of Satan evidently resulted in the sun being darkened, producing darkness throughout the solar system [Genesis 1:2-5, 14-19].  Thus, in a larger sense, Satan’s act apparently affected not only the earth but the entire solar system as well.  And God’s restoration of the material creation in Genesis 1:2b ff involved at least a restoration of the sun and the earth within this solar system.  The remaining part of the solar system [the other planets] is not dealt with in this respect in Scripture, one way or the other.

Scripture deals with the earth, its moon, and the sun, not the other planets in the solar system [though, as previously stated, they would have been affected by the darkening and subsequent restoration of the sun in Genesis 1:2-5, 14-19].

[Note that “light” was brought into existence on day one (Genesis 1:3-5) prior to the restoration of the sun on day four (Genesis 1:14-19).  Thus, light of this nature, illuminating the earth, can exist apart from the sun; and, the matter is apparently as scientists often view light in connection with the sun today — as enveloping the sun, not as an intrinsic part of the sun].

Satan [with his angels] presently resides in the heavens within this solar system; and these would be the heavens in relation to the earth rather than the other planets — heavens from which Satan will one day be cast [Revelation 12:4], heavens that will have to be cleansed before Christ and His co-heirs can reign from this realm [Job 15:15], heavens that will one day be destroyed with the earth [2 Peter 3:7-12], and heavens that will then be created anew with the earth [2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1].

In the light of man’s ever-advancing science pertaining to the heavens [our solar system, our galaxy, and other galaxies which lie beyond] and man thinking about the possibility of his being able to travel out into parts of this realm [far beyond where he has already gone], an interesting thought, a paradox, though tragic in the light of existing conditions in Christendom today, exists about the whole of the matter.

Unsaved man on the earth has no calling to go out into the heavens; but, nonetheless, he expresses a desire to go anyway.  Saved man on the earth, on the other hand, has a calling to one day go out into the heavens — the heavens associated with this earth during the Messianic Era, and the heavens associated with the universe at large during the ages beyond.  But he, unlike unsaved man, expresses no desire to go.

The latter though results largely from his lack of knowledge surrounding the subject.  Even though this is the primary purpose for his salvation — to occupy a regal position in relation to this earth during the coming age and exercise regality out in the universe during the ages that follow — in the main, he knows little to nothing about it.  And the reason that this is the case can be seen on every hand.

The purpose for man’s salvation [which has to do with the purpose for his creation and fall], with rare exception, is not being taught in the churches of the land today — liberal and fundamental alike.  And, as a result, though unsaved man manifests an interest in that which God has no interest in [going out into, exploring, and colonizing the heavens], saved man knows little to nothing about that which God is very interested in [saved man going out into and occupying regal positions in the heavens].)

Because of the vast difference that separates the thoughts and ways of the infinite God in the heavens far beyond our solar system from those of finite, fallen man on the earth, man’s thoughts and ways have been left completely out of the equation when it comes to making God’s will and purpose known.  Man’s commission in this respect is very simple.

Man has been commanded, “Preach the Word . . . .” (2 Timothy 4:2).  He has been commanded to proclaim that which God has stated about the matter, not that which he thinks or might like to state about the matter.  He has been commanded to proclaim that which has forever been “settled in heaven” and given to man, which has emanated from an infinite, omniscient mind.  He has been commanded to proclaim that which is immeasurably “higher” than anything man could possibly come up with in an eternity of time, separated to the extent of God’s separation of the heavens from the earth (Psalm 12:6; 119:89; 138:2).

Thus, this restricts the content of preaching solely to that which God has revealed in His Word.  Man is simply to proclaim that which God has given to man through man.

And what man may think about the matter — either about that which God has revealed, or about proclaiming that which God has revealed — is of no moment whatsoever.  We are dealing with the Creator on the one hand and the creature on the other, with the infinite and with the finite, with the One who can’t fall and with the one who has fallen.

The Word has been given, and the instructions concerning this Word are very clear.  It is this Word and this Word alone which is to be proclaimed.

PREACH THE WORD

The word translated “preach” in 2 Timothy 4:2 is kerusso in the Greek text.  Kerusso simply means “to proclaim,” whether to one person or to a multitude; and the proclamation of the Word (stating that which the Word has to say) can be done by any Christian at any time.

Kerusso does not itself carry the thought of what type of message is to be proclaimed.  That, rather, is derived from the contextual usage of the word.  Kerusso, for example, is the word used for the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom by John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy (Matthew 3:1; 4:17; 10:7; Luke 10:1ff); it is the word used for the proclamation of “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24; cf. Acts 20:25); it is the word used for Paul’s proclamation of that aspect of the gospel associated with “the mystery” that had been revealed to him (1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 2:2);  and it is the word used relating Christ’s proclamation (or announcement) to “the spirits in prison” following His resurrection (1 Peter 3:18-19).

In 2 Timothy 4:2 kerusso is used referring to the whole of the written Word, though in a context where things surrounding the Word of the Kingdom are being more specifically singled out and dealt with.

Man, in this respect, is responsible for proclaiming the whole of Scripture, “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), which contextually, in Acts 20, is seen in two realms:

1) The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24)
2) The kingdom of God (Acts 20:25)

Man has been saved (dealt with concerning that which is seen in “the gospel of the grace of God”) for a purpose (to be dealt with concerning that which is seen in a message pertaining to “the kingdom of God,” referred to in other texts as “the word of the kingdom” [Matthew 13:19-21] or “the gospel of the glory of Christ” [2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB]).

And this is shown at the very outset of Scripture.  A skeletal framework for the whole of Scripture is given at the beginning (Genesis 1:1-2:3 [see 3) Beginning and Continuing and 4) Building on the Foundation in this book]), and all subsequent Scripture must, after some fashion, rest on this skeletal framework.

This skeletal framework takes a person from a Creation, through a Ruin of that creation, through a Restoration of the ruined creation, and then through a Rest that follows the restoration. It takes one from “the gospel of the grace of God” (a ruined creation necessitating restoration [salvation, redemption], foreshadowed by God’s work on day one of the restoration) to “the kingdom of God” (to that which is foreshadowed by God’s work throughout the remaining five days, with a following day of rest, foreshadowed by God resting on the seventh day).

Note an illustration of proclaiming “all the counsel of God” from Hebrews 11, in keeping with both the skeletal framework in Genesis and the structure and manner in which God has revealed His Word to man.

In Hebrews 11:4-10 four individuals who acted “by faith” are named in the order in which they appear in the first eleven chapters of Genesis.  These four alone appear in the opening part of Hebrews chapter eleven (save for the mention of Isaac and Jacob [attention is called to both in Hebrews 11:9, but they are not dealt with until later in the chapter, in Hebrews 11:17-21]).  And, though attention could have been called to numerous other individuals who acted “by faith” throughout this 2,000-year period (twenty generations — from Adam to Abraham that cover the first 2,000 years of human history), these four alone are singled out and dealt with in these opening verses.

Why these four alone?  The answer is simple.  Through these four individuals, God could not only set forth great spiritual truths surrounding “faith” but He could also present a dispensational framework of events that would not only be in keeping with that which is set forth concerning “all the counsel of God” in Acts 20:24-27 but would also be in keeping with that which is taught by viewing the whole scope of events in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Both the good news surrounding the grace of God (cf. Genesis 1:1-5) and the continuing good news surrounding the coming glory of Christ (cf. Genesis 1:6-2:3) are shown in type by/through Abel’s experiences; and different continuing facets of “the kingdom of God” are then shown typically by Enoch’s, Noah’s, and Abraham’s experiences.

As previously noted, there are two aspects to the account of Abel’s offering seen in Genesis 4.  And both aspects are dealt with in the book of Hebrews — the first in Hebrews 11, and the second in Hebrews 12.

In Hebrews 11 — as in subsequent teachings surrounding Enoch, Noah, and Abraham — that which is revealed concerning Abel’s offering would have to do with teachings surrounding a different facet of “the kingdom of God” than is seen in Hebrews 12.

Abel brought an offering to the Lord.  Abel brought lambs from his flock; and these lambs had been slain (Genesis 4:4), allowing death and shed blood to be introduced into the type.  But at this point in the type, death and shed blood are not really central features in the primary interpretation of the type (though death and shed blood would be central features in the other part of the type [from Hebrews 12], or they could be seen in secondary applications in Hebrews 11 as well).

Rather, the primary interpretation of this part of the type revolves around obedience to God’s command and concerns Cain and Abel bringing that which evidently were offerings of the first-fruits.  In this respect, Abel would have been required to bring an offering from his flock, and Cain would have been required to bring an offering from the field.

(For additional information on Cain’s and Abel’s offerings and that which followed, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Had Ye Believed Moses, Ch. 10.)

And the preceding would really be primary to understanding the place which that which is stated about Abel fits into the overall type.  The primary understanding of the beginning point, in this respect, in this overall type, would move beyond the point of salvation by grace and have to do with obedience or disobedience among the saved.

Then, the other aspect of Abel’s offering is that which is associated directly with death and shed blood rather than with an offering of the first-fruits.  This part of the type though doesn’t have to do directly with the lambs that Abel slew and presented to the Lord, though it is introduced by the death and shed blood of these lambs.  Rather, this subsequent part of the type has to do with Cain slaying Abel.  This part of the type has to do with Abel himself, as it were, being the offering (cf. Genesis 4:8-10; Hebrews 12:24).

Death and shed blood are seen in both parts of the type, but only in the latter part are they (death and shed blood) associated with the primary interpretation of the whole of Genesis 4 in the light of that which is stated in both Hebrews 11:4 and Hebrews 12:24.  Only in the latter part of the type are Christ’s death and shed blood seen apart from secondary applications (that which is introduced by the death and shed blood of lambs in Hebrews 11:4, and then seen by/through the death of Abel himself in Hebrews 12:24).

Thus, the latter part of the type has to do with the same beginning point which is seen throughout Scripture — a type that foreshadows Christ’s death and has to do with teachings, in this respect, surrounding the simple gospel of the grace of God.  It has to do with teachings surrounding man passing “from death to life” so that teachings in the remainder of the overall type can then be seen.

In Hebrews 11, following that which is stated about Abel, Enoch is seen being removed from the earth alive before the Flood (Genesis 5:21-24), Noah is seen being protected on the earth in an ark, passing safely through the Flood (Genesis 6; 7; 8), and a new beginning is then seen in the actions of both Noah and Abraham following the Flood (Genesis 9:1ff; 12:1ff).

That’s the complete type.  And this overall type points to an overall antitype in which,

1) God's acceptability of man, as seen particularly in Hebrews 10; 11, is alwaysby faith.”  “Without faithit is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6a).  This would hold true for both the saved and the unsaved.

Man is saved “by grace . . . through faith [by believing on the Son]” (Ephesians 2:8).  Death and shed blood must enter into the picture, allowing acceptability “by faith” to be possible (introduced through Abel’s offering of lambs, but seen more specifically through Abel himself being slain, which foreshadowed Christ being slain 4,000 years later).

Then, saved man is to live “by faith” (Hebrews 10:38).  The matter must be exactly as set forth in Romans 1:17 (cf. Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11) — “ . . . from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (in the antitype of that which is set forth in Hebrews 11, beginning with that which is seen through Abel acting “by faith”).

2) The redeemed one new manin Christ” is to be removed from the earth before the coming Tribulation (seen in Enoch being removed before the Flood).

3) Israel is to go through the Tribulation (seen in Noah going through the Flood).

4) There is to be a new beginning following the Tribulation, the Messianic Era (seen in the new beginning, first through Noah and then through Abraham, who “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”).

The whole of the Word — “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” [Matthew 4:4] — is to be proclaimed by man.  And this Word is to be proclaimed after the structure and manner in which it was written.  The Word has a dispensational structure, and much of it is highly typical in nature (and the latter, by/through Scriptures own internal evidence and testimony, extends to the whole of biblical history [see 8) Types and Antitypes in this book]).

Thus, proclaiming the Word has to do with correct divisions, drawing from the types and antitypes, drawing from the parables, etc.  In this respect, one must know the Word, for the more one knows about the Word, the better equipped he will be to properly handle and proclaim the Word.

But above all, the Word must be proclaimed after the manner in which it was given, regardless of what man in his finite wisdom may think about the matter.  He is to proclaim the Word exactly as the infinite God gave it, which will require long hours of study on his part, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

He, in the words of Scripture itself, is to simply “Preach the Word . . . .”  He is to speak, “not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches;  comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

The matter could not be stated plainer, though, more often than not, the instructions go unheeded by those called to proclaim the Word.

THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD

The message surrounding the gospel of the grace of God is given in very simple terms in Scripture.  In fact, it is so simple that man often misses it.  And any person who misses the one true message given by the infinite God and draws from his own finite wisdom and knowledge invariably — he can’t help but do so — ends up with a corrupted salvation message to proclaim.

The overall key thought in the salvation message is the fact that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).  Note death and shed blood introduced not only in revelation surrounding Abel in Genesis 4 but also previously in God’s provision for man following the entrance of sin in Genesis 3:21 as well.

Then, the one key word in the salvation message is “believe” (Acts 16:31).  John 3:16 is often referred to as “the gospel in a nutshell” by individuals seeking to draw attention to the overall salvation message stated in its simplest form in Scripture.

“God,” because of His love for fallen man — created in His image, after His likeness — for a revealed purpose (Genesis 1:26-28),

. . . gave his only begotten Son [1 Corinthians 15:3], that whosoever believes in Him [Acts 16:31] should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16b)

Everything, in its entirety, to procure man’s salvation was done by Another.  It had to be done by Another, for the one being redeemed was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), totally incapable of acting on his own behalf.  Christ is the One who died, Christ is the One who performed the work to procure man’s salvation, and God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.

When Christ cried out from the Cross in “a loud voice” near the ninth hour, “It is finished” (Luke 23:46; John 19:30), He used one word in the Greek text, Tetelestai, which could be better translated, “It has been finished.”  Tetelestai is a perfect tense usage of teleo, which means “to bring to an end,” “to complete.”  Christ’s work, as shown by the perfect usage of teleo, was completed during His actions up to that point in time, with the result of His work existing at that time in a finished state.

All of the work surrounding man’s redemption that Christ had come to perform had, at that point in time, been completed.  This is the announcement that Christ made, in “a loud voice,” and, consequently, there was then no longer any need for Him to continue His sufferings on the Cross.  Thus, immediately after He had cried out, “It has been finished,” He “gave up the spirit [lit., ‘He breathed out’ (He expired)]” (Luke 23:46).

The work of Christ at Calvary, from the point He cried out, “It has been finished,” has existed in exactly the same state in which He proclaimed it to exist at that time.  It has existed as a work completed in past time, which extends into present time in a finished state, which will extend into all the ages comprising eternity ahead in this same finished state.  Nothing can ever be added, and nothing can ever be taken away.  That is to say, nothing can ever change relative to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

That’s the way God’s procurement of man’s salvation had to occur, that’s the only way it can presently exist, and that’s the only way it can exist throughout the Messianic Era and the subsequent ages of eternity.  Because of Christ’s finished work, salvation is extended to man “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1); and apart from Christ’s finished work, there is no salvation.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already [lit., ‘has already been condemned’ (a perfect tense)], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

(The perfect tense used in the Greek text of John 3:18 points to the fact that the unbeliever “has already been condemned,” with the reason given — “because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  And present circumstances surrounding the unbeliever in this respect will remain unchanged, apart from a conversion wherein belief is exercised.)

It is utterly impossible — and foolish to even consider — that finite man, “dead in trespasses and sins,” could add one thing to or take one thing from the finished work of the infinite God through His Son.  All man can possibly do is simply receive, by believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf.

1)  THE TYPE AND ANTITYPE

The truth concerning man’s salvation as being entirely by/through divine intervention is shown in the opening five verses of Genesis, in the original type, in the very first type in Scripture.  This truth is set forth at the very beginning, engraved, as it were, in stone; and it can never change.

In these verses there is a Creation, a Ruin of the creation, and the beginning of the Restoration of the ruined creation.  And to effect this beginning part of the restoration, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence (Genesis 1:1-5).

In relation to man in a type-antitype framework, this is the point where the Word of God divides between man’s soul and man’s spirit (Hebrews 4:12; cf. Genesis 1:4), allowing light to exist where only darkness had previously existed (2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 1:13). 

Man’s spirit is saved.  He now possesses spiritual life; and his spirit, at this point, is separated from his unsaved soul — involving action of the triune Godhead, a bringing forth from above, the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, which results in man passing “from death to life.”

Then, the other five days in the Genesis restoration account have to do with redeemed man’s soul, which is presently in the process of being saved.  And to bring about man’s complete restoration — “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) — there has to be a continued action of the triune Godhead, a continued bringing forth from above through a continued breathing in of life (ref., 4) Building on the Foundation in this book).

But remaining within the subject matter at hand, having to do with the salvation that we presently possess and the simplicity of the salvation message, everything in the Genesis account was accomplished entirely by/through divine intervention.  The earth, covered with water and shrouded in darkness, was totally incapable of ever existing in any other state apart from divine intervention.  And that’s the way it is with man “dead in trespasses and sins” today, totally incapable of ever existing in any other state apart from divine intervention.

Divine intervention had to occur in relation to the ruined creation in Genesis, and divine intervention has to occur in relation to the ruined creation today.  Genesis 1:1-5 forms the original, unchangeable type, and all subsequent types have to follow and be in complete accord with that which was established at the beginning (e.g., Genesis 3:21; 4:2-5, 8-10; 22:1-14; Exodus 12:1-29; 17:6; Numbers 21:5-9).  And there can be no possible change of any kind in the antitype (Matthew 12:40; John 3:14), for the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.  That which is true in this respect in one must be true in the other.

In order to see the salvation message (or any other biblical message) — in its pristine simplicity and completeness — one must begin where God began and view the matter exactly as God set it forth in His Word.  One must begin in Genesis and successive books, with the types, and move from there to the antitype, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

The main reason confusion exists in matters surrounding salvation (or any other biblical doctrine) is man’s failure to begin where God began and study Scripture after the fashion in which it was revealed and recorded.  God has given His Word to man after a fashion that is highly typical for an evident reason. 

The various types surrounding man’s salvation, along with the antitype, must be studied together in order to see and understand exactly what God would have man see and understand in relation to salvation as it has been set forth in His unchangeable Word.

And putting it all together, a person will always come up with the same simple teaching.  Viewing the antitype in the light of all the various types on the subject — viewing the antitype in the light of the complete Old Testament word picture — will always reveal exactly the same thing Jonah stated immediately prior to his deliverance from the place of death, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).

2)  THE QUESTION, THE ANSWER

Christ has completed the work that God required, and God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.  This is the reason Paul and Silas could respond to the Philippian jailer’s question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved,” with the simple answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

This jailer at Philippi could do nothing.  It had all been done on his behalf.  All of the work that God required (involving death and shed blood) had already been done by Another.  It had already been finished, existing at that time as a divinely completed work.  He could do no more than receive that which had already been done on his behalf.  He could do no more than “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then, to view Acts 16:30-31 after another fashion, note that this is the only place in Scripture where the question, “What must I do to be saved,” is asked and answered in so many words.  The salvation message can be found throughout Scripture, beginning in the opening verses of Genesis; but Acts 16:30-31 is the only place in all of Scripture where the simple, direct question and the simple, direct answer regarding salvation have been placed together in so many words.

If one desires to remain within a completely biblical framework when answering the question, “What must I do to be saved,” he will have to respond with Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  Remaining within a completely biblical framework — i.e., proclaiming the Word… — there is no getting around responding after this fashion, for, again, this is the only place in Scripture where the question and answer appear together in so many words.

Then one can go to all the various types, the antitype, or other places in Scripture dealing with the salvation message and find exactly the same thing.  He must, for this is the way that the subject not only begins but remains throughout Scripture.  There is no variance in the message from Genesis chapter one through Revelation chapter twenty-two.

(Some see Acts 2:37-38 as two verses asking and answering the same question seen in Acts 16:30-31, but this is not the case at all.  Contextually, the issue surrounding the unsaved and eternal salvation is not even in view in Acts 2.

The context of Acts 2:37-38 has to do with the beginning of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel.  The question asked in verse thirty-seven, contextually, had to do with that which the nation of Israel must do in order to rectify that which the Jewish people had done [which had climaxed in the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah], effecting their Messiah’s return and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

And Peter told them exactly what they must do:  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you . . . .”  The entire nation would have to repent [change their minds], followed by baptism, which was the same message that had been proclaimed to Israel by John, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy preceding the events culminating in Calvary.

Using these verses relative to eternal salvation is completely out of line with both the text and the context.  And using these verses in this manner not only results in numerous false teachings and concepts about salvation by grace [placing both repentance and baptism in a completely wrong perspective relative to eternal salvation] but such a usage also does away with the correct understanding and interpretation of these verses.

Refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith, Ch.1, where the preceding is discussed at length in connection with Joel’s prophecy.)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Moving beyond “the gospel of the grace of God,” as previously stated, Scripture teaches that man has been saved for a purpose, which has to do withthe kingdom of God.”  But what is meant when referring to “the kingdom of God” in this respect?

The expression is used in different ways in Scripture.  A message surrounding “the kingdom of God” could be looked upon as quite broad in its scope, for,

The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. (Psalms 103:19)

God rules “over allfromHis throne in the heavens,” which, in its larger scope, includes everything in the entire universe.  Thus, in this respect, the expression, “the kingdom of God,” could be understood in an all-inclusive sense.

However, references to the kingdom of God are used in this broad sense very sparingly in Scripture.  The Bible is a book that deals, not with the universe at large, but with one province in the universe, this earth.  And when “the kingdom of God” is mentioned in Scripture, the primary reference invariably has to do with the kingdom as it pertains to the earth.

Even Psalm 103:19 should be looked upon as pertaining first of all to this earth, though the verse in its larger scope would, of necessity, pertain to the entire universe.  That would be to say, Psalm 103:19, in a primary sense, in keeping with how Scripture is structured (pertaining to this earth, not the universe), would refer to God’s rule in relation to the earth; but in a secondary sense, also in keeping with how Scripture is structured (at times dealing with the kingdom outside the scope of the earth in order that man on the earth can properly understand things relating to this one part of the kingdom), Psalm 103:19 would be looked upon as pertaining, as well, to the universe at large.  In this respect, the verse could be viewed after a dual fashion.

1)  THE KINGDOM AND THE EARTH

Insofar as the kingdom of God in relation to the earth is concerned, Daniel states that God rules and exercises complete sovereign control within the kingdom of man, though Satan (the disqualified provincial ruler) still holds his God-appointed position and governs as a rebel prince (Daniel 4:17ff).  And Psalm 103:19, in its narrower interpretive sense, referring to the earth alone, would cover the complete scope of God’s sovereign control over this one province in His kingdom.

In the New Testament though, the expression, “the kingdom of God,” is used almost exclusively in a sense referring to only a part of God’s complete government of the earth (the rule from the heavens over the earth).  Almost every time that the expression appears in the New Testament it appears as synonymous with “the kingdom of the heavens” (a segment [the heavenly segment] of the complete provincial kingdom).

And the reason for this is quite easy to see and understand.  This is the way in which the New Testament begins, and this is the subject matter dealt with throughout the New Testament.  In this respect, the expression, “the kingdom of God,” is limited in scope to that which is covered by the subject at hand — “the kingdom of the heavens,” the rule of the heavens over the earth.

After describing events surrounding the birth of Christ in Matthew 1; 2, the New Testament opens with the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:1-8).  It then progresses to that point where Israel spurns the proffered kingdom (Matthew 12:14-32; 21:33-41), with the kingdom subsequently being taken from Israel (Matthew 21:42-43).  Progression is then made to the calling into existence of a separate and distinct nation to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected (Matthew 16:18; 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9).  And most of the remainder of the New Testament involves this new nation — the Church — and the proffered kingdom of the heavens.

When John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy carried the message concerning the kingdom to Israel, that which they offered to the nation was “the kingdom of the heavens,” or, as also expressed at times, “the kingdom of God” (cf. Matthew 4:17; 21:43; Mark 1:14-15).

The kingdom of the heavens” is that which was taken from Israel (referred to as “the kingdom of God” when the announcement was made in Matthew 21:43) — exactly the same kingdom that was offered — and this kingdom (the kingdom of the heavens, the rule of the heavens over the earth) is what is presently being offered to the new creationin Christ” (i.e., offered to Christians, comprising the Church).

(To summarize, “the kingdom of the heavens” and “the kingdom of God” are not necessarily synonymous expressions in Scripture, though usually used in a synonymous sense throughout the New Testament.  “The kingdom of the heavens” refers specifically to the heavenly segment of the kingdom [the rule of the heavens over the earth], and “the kingdom of God” could refer to a larger scope of the kingdom, both heavenly and earthly.

However, the expression, “the kingdom of God,” is usually used in a more restricted sense in the New Testament, referring to that part of the kingdom that was offered to Israel, was taken from Israel, and is presently being offered to the Church [cf. Matthew 19:23-24; 21:43; Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:21].

That would be to say, the expression, “the kingdom of the heavens,” identifies which segment of the kingdom is in view; and the expression, “the kingdom of God,” is usually used in a sense that is limited to this same segment of the kingdom, remaining within the scope of the subject matter at hand.)

God deals with the Church today in relation to “the kingdom of the heavens,” i.e., in relation to the heavenly segment of the kingdom.  He dealt with the lineal descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob in relation to this segment of the kingdom (along with the earthly) at a time in the past, lasting 2,000 years and climaxed by a direct offer of the kingdom of the heavens at Christ’s first coming.

Today though we’re living in a separate dispensation (following that time when the kingdom of the heavens was taken from Israel [Matthew 21:43]), and God is today offering the kingdom to a separate and distinct seed of Abraham for another 2,000-year period — to Christians, comprising the Church (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

During the past 2,000-year dispensation — during that time when Israel could, as Abraham, look beyond the earthly to heavenly promises and blessings (Hebrews 11:8-16) — numerous Israelites did exactly that (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28-29; Hebrews 11:13-16, 35-40).  And these Israelites, even though the kingdom of the heavens was later taken from Israel, will, in the coming age (a new dispensation), occupy positions in the heavenly segment rather than in the earthly segment of the kingdom.

During the present 2,000-year dispensation — following a climactic offer of the kingdom to Israel and the removal of the kingdom from Israel by the King of the kingdom Himself — the kingdom is being offered to Christians, who are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:29).

Jews during the present dispensation can still have a part in the kingdom of the heavens, but, to do so, they must become new creationsin Christ.”  They must, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, become part of the nation presently being afforded the opportunity to bring forth fruit for the kingdom.  They must relinquish their national identification with the nation from which the kingdom has been taken and become identified with the new nation to which the kingdom is presently being offered, becoming part of the “remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5; cf. Ephesians 3:1-6).

(Insofar as the natural man is concerned, a saved Jew today remains identified with the Jewish race and/or nation.  But insofar as the man of spirit is concerned, having to do with his position “in Christ,” a saved Jew today has relinquished all connection with the Jewish race and/or nation and has become part of a completely separate nation [cf. Acts 21:9; Romans 9:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29; Philippians 3:5; ref. 6) Jew, Gentile, Christian in this book].)

During the coming age there will be lineal descendants of Abraham from both the past dispensation and the present dispensation in the kingdom of the heavens.  There will be Jews from the past dispensation who looked toward and had respect for heavenly promises and blessings, and there will be Jews from the present dispensation (believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, having become new creationsin Christ,” Christians) who also looked toward and had respect for heavenly promises and blessings.

Then there will undoubtedly be some Gentiles from the past dispensation who became Jewish proselytes and looked beyond the earthly to heavenly promises and blessings (cf. Hebrews 11:31).  And even less is revealed in this respect about those in the first of the three dispensations during Man’s Day — those living during the time extending from Adam to Abraham — though Hebrews 11 clearly reveals that certain individuals from this dispensation will be included.

The main influx of Gentiles though will come from the present dispensation (Acts 15:14; Romans 11:25).  During this present dispensation there will be innumerable Gentiles (believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, having become Christians) who also (as some Jews past and some Jewish believers present) look toward and have respect for heavenly promises and blessings.

In this respect, those having a part in the future kingdom of the heavens will actually come from three dispensations covering the full 6,000 years of human history (cf. Hebrews 11:35-40).

2)  GOSPEL OF GRACE, WORD OF THE KINGDOM

The proclamation of “the gospel of the grace of God” is for a purpose, which has to do with “the kingdom of God.”  Man was created to rule within this kingdom.  He was created to rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels (Genesis 1:26-28).

However, Satan, the incumbent ruler, brought about man’s fall; and man, in his fallen state, was/is no longer qualified to take the scepter.

But God provided redemption for fallen man so that he could one day realize the purpose for his existence, so that he could one day take the scepter.  Redemption in its complete scope, covering that which is foreshadowed by all six days of restoration work in Genesis 1, has to do with both “the gospel of the grace of God” and “the gospel of the glory of Christ”; and man’s rule over the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels has to do with one part of God’s overall kingdom.

Thus, the complete scope of man’s salvation is that which is shown only by the proclamation of boththe gospel of the grace of God” and “the gospel of the glory of Christ,” as set forth in Acts 20:24-25.

And this is why the proclamation of these two facets of the complete gospel message together (the full panorama of the good news) can be looked upon as a proclamation of “all the counsel of God” in Acts 20:27.  “All the counsel of God” moves man from the point where he is likened to and typified by the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2a through not only events which are foreshadowed by God’s work on day one of the restoration (Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]) but also through events which are foreshadowed by God’s work on days two through six as well (Genesis 1:6-25), anticipating the seventh day, the earth’s coming Sabbath, the Messianic Era (Genesis 2:1-3).  And, again, that covers the complete skeletal framework upon which the whole of Scripture rests.

Referring to a larger overall type, also resting on the original type in Genesis 1:1-2:3, the proclamation of “the gospel of the grace of God” and “the kingdom of God” together moves man from the death of the firstborn in Egypt in Exodus 12 to an inheritance in another land, set forth in the book of Joshua.  This complete sequence of events moves man from the place of his salvation in Egypt, through the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and into the land set before him.

The type was set forth in perfect, minute form by Moses at the very beginning, in the opening two chapters of Genesis.  Then, going beyond the original type, Moses records numerous events — also forming types — which provide various, additional details relating to the overall scope of redemption (Genesis 2:4ff).  And when one arrives at Exodus 12, Moses devotes the entirety of the remainder of that which he wrote to providing the largest single overall type in Scripture covering the whole of the original type in Genesis 1:1-2:3, relying on Joshua to complete the work.

These are the things provided for the Church as “examples [lit., ‘types’],” which have been recorded for our “admonition [or, ‘instruction’]” (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).

(Though the author of the book of Joshua is unnamed, it appears evident that Joshua wrote the book.  Joshua was chosen to complete the work that God had called Moses to do, which would not only involve leading the Israelites into the land but would seemingly also involve providing the historical record that would complete the type begun under Moses [cf. Exodus 3:10, 16-17; Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 34:1-9; Joshua 1:1-9].)

And within this overall type extending from Exodus chapter twelve through the book of Joshua there are innumerable individual types.

That’s the way Scripture has been structured and recorded, that’s the way Scripture must be studied, and that’s the way Scripture must be proclaimed.

11)  The Goal

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

And on the seventh day God ended His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work that God had created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
 
He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished . .

. . . And they [contextually, faithful Tribulation saints who had been slain] lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

But the rest of the dead [contextually, unfaithful Tribulation saints who had been slain] did not live again until the thousand years were finished . . .

they [the faithful slain Tribulation saints] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-6)

The goal, the climactic point toward which the whole of Scripture moves, is seen at the very beginning in the foundational framework (Genesis 1:1-2:3).  And this is where one must begin if he is to see and understand the matter correctly.

As seen in previous chapters of this book, Scripture begins with:

1) A Creation (Genesis 1:1).

2) A Ruin of the creation (Genesis 1:2a).

3) A Restoration of the ruined creation covering six days time — six days of restorative work (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

4) A following day of Rest — a seventh day, a Sabbath day in which God rested from all His restoration work over the preceding six days (Genesis 2:1-3).

And this sets the pattern for the whole of Scripture that follows.  All subsequent Scripture — save for a few brief portions having to do either with matters preceding man’s creation or with matters beyond the Messianic Era — has to do with a subsequent restorative work of a subsequent ruined creation, followed by a day of rest.  It has to do with the restoration of ruined man (and the ruined material creation once again), for a purpose revealed at the beginning.

Man, an entirely new creation in the universe, found himself in a ruined state following his eating of the forbidden fruit.  And man’s fall not only brought about his own ruin but that of the entire restored creation as well (Genesis 3:6-19).  As the federal head, the one created to hold the scepter (Genesis 1:26-28), Adam’s fall “subjected” the whole of the restored creation to “the bondage of corruption,” as Satan’s fall had previously done to the newly created heavens and earth over which he had been placed (Genesis 1:2a; Romans 8:20-22; cf. Isaiah 14:12-17; Jeremiah 4:23-28; Ezekiel 28:14-16).

For Satan though, following his fall, there had been no redemption, leaving both the one who had fallen and the material creation in a ruined state.  But things were different for man, which, of necessity, also resulted in things being different for the material creation at this time as well.

Following man’s fall, God provided a means for his redemption, which, correspondingly, necessitated that the material creation ultimately be removed from “the bondage of corruption.”  Man, created to rule the restored material creation, was now inseparably linked with this creation, which provides the reason why God cursed the material creation following man’s fall (Genesis 3:17-19).

The material creation had previously been restored for man, not Satan.  It had been restored with a view to man rather than Satan holding the scepter and was, from that point forward, connected with man’s destiny.  And as man’s fall was inseparably linked to the subsequent ruin of the material creation, so is his redemption inseparably linked to a future restoration of the material creation.

God, in complete accord with the pattern established in Genesis 1:1-2:3, is presently working six more days to restore man.  And once man has been restored (once God’s work in man’s redemption has been completed), the material creation will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21).  The curse will be lifted, and this will be followed by God resting a seventh day, resting from His redemptive work (as in the established pattern [Genesis 2:1-3]).

God though is not presently working six solar days of twenty-four hours each to effect man’s restoration, as in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b].  Rather, He is presently working six days of 1,000 years each.  And the seventh day of rest that follows will also be 1,000 years in length (2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-8).

In this respect, the six days of work, with a following seventh day of rest, in the opening two chapters of Genesis (solar days), foreshadow, they typify, six 1,000-year days of work, with a following seventh 1,000-year day of rest.  This typical structure would hold true relative to both the time involved (six and seven days) and the events occurring within this time (events in Genesis 1:1-2:3).

Thus, the pattern that God laid down in Genesis 1:1-2:3 forms an overall type (comprised of numerous individual types) upon which the whole of subsequent Scripture, forming the antitype (also comprised of numerous individual types and/or antitypes), rests.

(Though the sun was not restored until the fourth day, all six days of God’s restorative work could only be viewed as solar days.  The sun, previously darkened and requiring restoration, was still there during the restorative work of the first three days.  And the next three days are clearly controlled by the sun relative to evening and morning comprising a day, which is the identical expression used relative to that which comprised a day for the first three days [Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31].  Thus, there could be no difference in the nature and course of any one of the six days relative to the length of the day or that which constitutes a day.

Refer to 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture, 3) Beginning and Continuing and 4) Building on the Foundation in this book for a more detailed exposition of Genesis 1:1-2:3 in relation to the remainder of Scripture.)

SIX DAYS, SIX THOUSAND YEARS

The necessity of studying Scripture from a typical standpoint cannot be overemphasized; nor can a correct understanding of the opening verses of Genesis be overemphasized.  After all, this is the manner in which God structured and established His Word.

As previously seen, a foundational type covering the whole of subsequent Scripture is set forth in these opening verses, and this foundational type is comprised of numerous individual types dealing with various facets of the overall foundational type.  And, in order to place the whole of subsequent Scripture in its correct perspective, this opening section of Scripture must be viewed correctly at the outset.

The central thought covered by events during the six days in the type is restoration, with a purpose in view (having to do with the restoration of the ruined material creation, for a revealed purpose).  And the central thought covered by events during the 6,000 years in the antitype is exactly the same.  It is restoration, with a purpose in view (having to do with the restoration of ruined man, for a revealed purpose).  And this restoration, man’s redemption — foreshadowed by God’s work during the complete six days — will include the complete man, spirit, soul, and body (ref. 4) Building on the Foundation in this book).

In the type, the material creation was originally restored (complete with plant and animal life) with a view to man inhabiting and ruling the restored domain (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 45:18).  Man, created on the sixth day, was to rule the earth — a province in the kingdom of God — in the stead of Satan and his angels.

Then, in the antitype, man’s redemption is for exactly the same purpose.  Man is to be redeemed (along with the restoration of the material creation once again), with a view to man ruling the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.

Thus, the purpose for man’s redemption is exactly the same as the purpose for his creation in the beginning.  He was created to rule the restored earth, Satan’s intervention brought about his fall and disqualification, and man’s redemption (being brought about in exact accord with the pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]) will ultimately bring about a realization of the purpose for his creation in the beginning.

Man is going to rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels, for “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [without a change of mind]” (Romans 11:29).  God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He brought man into existence.  And this rule by man is going to be realized after six days, after 6,000 years, which is what is taught in both the type in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the antitype in Genesis 2:4-Revelation 20:6.
 
Viewing the whole of the matter, one can immediately see how types and antitypes are inseparably connected with any correct study of Scripture, at any point in Scripture.  The whole of Scripture (Genesis 2:4ff) is built on a type (Genesis 1:1-2:3).  And within that overall type-antitype structure, there are innumerable individual types and antitypes.

All biblical history is typical in nature.  There is really no such thing as biblical history being separated from typology.  Man may not see the type in a particular historic account, but it’s there nonetheless.

Note 1 Corinthians 10:11 in this respect:

Now all [not part, but ‘all’] these things happened to them as examples [Greek, tupos, types], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

(Though the context of the preceding verse only deals with a select number of events in the history of the Israelites under Moses, illustrating the point, attempting to restrict typology to the events listed becomes meaningless in the light of other Scriptures bearing on the subject, such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 or Hebrews 3; 4 [reference 8) Types and Antitypes in this book].)

Man’s Day, the 6,000 years encompassing the whole of Scripture from Genesis 2:4 to Revelation 19:21, typified by the six days in Genesis 1:2-31 [2b], is looked upon as one age divided into three dispensations.  The three dispensations correspond to God’s three divisions of mankind — Jew, Gentile, and Christian.  God dealt with the Gentiles for 2,000 years, with the Jews for another 2,000 years (seven years yet remain), and He is presently dealing with Christians for the last 2,000 years of man’s allotted 6,000 years (reference 5) Ages and Dispensations and 6) Jew, Gentile, Christian in this book).

Ages follow ages, and dispensations within the ages follow other dispensations.  There is a divine purpose behind the entire sequence, which was foreknown and predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God before the ages even began, with the ages arranged around the preordained work and activity of God’s Son within time covered by these ages (Acts 15:18; Hebrews 1:2).

There are two ages rather than one within the scope of time typified by the seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  Time typified by the first six days covers one age, and time typified by the seventh day covers another age.

And so it is with dispensations.  There are four dispensations rather than three within the scope of time typified by these seven days.  Three dispensations cover three 2,000-year segments of time (6,000 years, one age), during which time God deals (relative to redemption) with the three divisions of mankind separately.  And the fourth dispensation will cover the last 1,000-year segment of time (a succeeding age), during which time God will deal (redemptively and regally) with the three divisions of mankind together.

Thus, any way one views Scripture — though man is still living during the six days, during Man’s Day, covering 6,000 years — the focus should not be strictly on events during the six days per se but on the purpose surrounding events during the six days, to be realized on the seventh day.  One’s focus should always be the same as Christ’s focus at Calvary (who left us “an example,” that we “should follow His steps” [1 Peter 2:21-25]).

Note that which is stated about Christ in this respect in Hebrews 12:2b:

. . . for the joy that was set before Him [the day when He would rule and reign (cf. Matthew 25:21, 23)] endured the cross, despising the shame [endured the cross during time within the six days, considering His sufferings of little consequence when compared to the joy set before Him, to be realized on the seventh day], and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

But Christ will not remain seated at the Father’s right hand forever.  He will remain there for only two days, 2,000 years, while the Spirit calls out a bride for God’s Son (Genesis 24:1ff; Revelation 19:7-8).  Then the Son is going to come forth in the antitype of Melchizedek, with His bride, and rule the nations with “a rod of iron.”  He will rule in the midst of His enemies, which will have been made His footstool (Psalm 2:1-12; 110:1-7).  And He will rule after this fashion for 1,000 years.

Things of the preceding nature surrounding the Son’s coming rule over the earth all fall within the scope of that which is seen by/through events occurring during the seventh day in this opening section of Scripture, though set forth in detail largely by/through subsequent types.
 
All Scripture having to do with the Messianic Era beyond the foundation in Genesis 1:1-2:3 will, after some fashion, relate back to the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3.  All Scripture must, for Genesis 2:1-3 forms the foundational type to which any subsequent type or antitype having to do with the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period, must be inseparably connected.  They have to be connected after this fashion, for they are dealing with the same thing.

To view events during the six days (the 6,000 years) apart from events of the coming seventh day (the seventh 1,000-year period) will present a very one-sided view of Scripture.  And contrariwise, to view events of the seventh day apart from events of the first six will equally present a very one-sided view of Scripture.

Viewing the six days apart from the succeeding seventh would be building without a goal, and viewing the seventh apart from the preceding six would be building without a foundation.

Building either way will result in an incomplete structure, an incomplete understanding of Scripture.

All seven days must be viewed together, with things realized during the seventh day being the goal toward which all things move during the first six.

“AND AFTER SIX DAYS . . . .”

It was after six days that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up into “a high mountain” and was “transfigured before them.”  They, at this time, “saw His glory” (Matthew 17:1-5; Luke 9:32; John 1:14).  And this event made such an impact on Peter that over thirty years later, when seeking to emphasize the importance of Christian preparedness in view of the Lord’s return and the establishment of His kingdom (2 Peter 1:1-15), Peter called attention to that which he, James, and John had seen years earlier while on the mountain with Christ:

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [a superlative in the Greek text — contextually, ‘. . . eyewitnesses of the greatness of His regal magnificance (which, as a superlative, could only be understood as the greatest regal magnificance possible)’].

For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Then, in his epistle, after commenting on the prophetic word (2 Peter 1:19-21), Peter turns to a discussion about and warning against false teachers (2 Peter 2:1ff).  The subject under discussion preceding the mention of false teachers bringing in “distructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1) has to do with the Word of the Kingdom (2 Peter 1:1-21), which is also the subject under discussion at the conclusion of the mention of false teachers (2 Peter 3:1-2; cf. 2 Peter 1:12-15).

1)  FALSE TEACHERS (PAST)

To remain within context, it must be recognized that the false teachers to whom Peter referred were teachers proclaiming false doctrine relative to the Word of the Kingdom, the subject under discussion.  They were proclaiming false doctrine relative to the saving of the soul, not false doctrine relative to the salvation presently possessed by these Christians.

And these false teachers were not unsaved individuals; nor were they ignorantly proclaiming this false doctrine.

These were teachers who had, at a previous time, “escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge [Greek, epignosis, ‘mature knowledge’] of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” but had become “again entangled in them,” and had been “overcome [rather than having overcome (Revelation 2; 3)]” (Revelation 2:20; cf. Revelation 1:4).

According to 1 Corinthians 2:14, an unsaved person cannot even come into a rudimentary knowledge (Greek, gnosis) of “the things of the Spirit of God,” for these things “are spiritually discerned” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

In 2 Peter 2:20 though, these false teachers are said to have gone beyond a simple rudimentary knowledge of the Word, coming into a mature understanding of the Word.  Thus, from a Scriptural standpoint, it is not possible to view these false teachers as other than saved individuals.

Note that these individuals are seen to even be guilty of “denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2:1b; cf. Numbers 14:2-4; Romans 1:25, 28; Hebrews 6:6; 10:29-31).  Further, the word “knowledge” in the passage in Romans 1:28, is epignosis in the Greek text, clearly showing that the latter part of Romans 1 deals with the saved, not with the unsaved.

(Romans chapter one naturally divides itself into two parts, having to do with the saved alone.  The first seventeen verses [Romans 1:1-17] introduce the subject [introducing “the gospel of Christ,” the good news concerning the One who will rule and reign], with these verses having to do with the faithful.  Then the last fifteen verses [Romans 1:18-32] continue this same subject, dealing with the unfaithful.

And dealing with the unfaithful, Paul takes the matter to extremes in what could only be considered the depths to which it is possible for Christians to sink in man’s perversion of God’s truth, textually, even by Christians having come into a mature knowledge of the Word of the Kingdom.

Paul references the homosexual [women with women, men with men, “committing what is shameful,” referring to something shameless, indecent Romans 1:26-27)],  And this is in complete keeping with Paul’s reference to the same type of individuals in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, who, because of their manner of living, will be rejected in that coming day for an inheritance inthe kingdom of God.”

The matter, as it is dealt with in the cited Scriptural references, has to do with the saved, with the people of God, not with the unsaved, with those estranged from God [as in Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain in Genesis 18; 19].  And the matter has to do with the people of God in relation to the theocracy — both aspects of the theocracy, heavenly and earthly [the Israelites under Moses, past, with a view to the future; Christians under Christ, present, with a view to the future].

Thus, in both Testaments, this perversion is dealt with in relation to the saved and the theocracy; and, as well, the end result of the matter is dealt with exactly the same way in both Testaments.  The penalty in both Testaments is the same, death — physical death in the Old Testament [a cutting off from the house of Moses and all that appertained thereunto (Leviticus 20:13; cf. Hebrews 3:1-6)], and spiritual death in the New Testament [a cutting off from the house of Christ and all that appertains thereunto (Romans 8:13; Revelation 2:11; cf. Hebrews 3:1-6)].

Why such a harsh penalty for this sin in both Testaments?  The answer would be very simple.

Homosexuality is a negative reflection on the way God established matters in the beginning, it is a negative reflection on the Husband-wife relationship between God and Israel [both past and future, in line with the way God established matters in the beginning], and it is a negative reflection on the Husband-wife relationship yet future between Christ and His Church [in line with the way God established matters in the beginning].)

(See Homosexuality in this site.)

And the word epignosis (“mature knowledge”), as used in Romans 1:28 and 2 Peter 2:20, is used in other places in the New Testament having to do with biblical doctrine pertaining to the saving of the soul as well (cf. Ephesians 1:17; 4:13; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2; 3:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2-3, 8).  It is evident from both the context of 2 Peter 2:20 and the way epignosis is used throughout the Greek New Testament that these false teachers had come into a knowledge of the Word of the Kingdom, had turned from it, and were teaching false doctrine concerning the message that they had at one time understood and embraced.

It is teachers of this nature that Peter warns against — teachers proclaiming a similar message to the “evil report” proclaimed by ten of the twelve spies during Moses’ day (spies who had seen and understood the things surrounding the land set before them [Numbers 13:26-33]).  And Peter concludes his warning in the same manner he had used to emphasize the importance of Christian preparedness in view of the Lord’s return and the establishment of His kingdom prior to his warning against false teachers.  Though not mentioning the event directly, as he had previously done, Peter alludes to that which he, James, and John had seen while on the mountain with Christ.

By/through a reference in 2 Peter chapter three to past and present worlds (“the world that then existed” [2 Peter 3:6] and “the heavens and the earth which are now” [2 Peter 3:7]), Peter puts to silence the claim by the false teachers that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4).  The “world that then existed [which included the heavens also, for the sun was darkened]” was destroyed (2 Peter 3:6; cf. Genesis 1:2a), and “the heavens and the earth which are now” will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:7, 10-12).

Then Peter draws the whole matter to a climax by alluding to that which he had previously said about being on the mountain with Christ (2 Peter 1:16-18):

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing [lit., ‘. . . stop allowing this one thing to escape your attention’], that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

There is a septenary structure to Peter’s second epistle.  The event on the mountain occurred “after six days,” on the seventh day (Matthew 17:1).  That would be an allusion back to the foundation in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and it was this septenary structure within God’s dealings with man that Peter referred to in 2 Peter 3:8 (a statement also reflecting back on that which is revealed in the immediately preceding verses concerning the destruction of two worlds).

The six and seven days in Genesis foreshadow six and seven thousand years, and so do the days in Matthew 17:1.  And this is exactly what Peter had in mind when he stated, “But, beloved, stop allowing this one thing to escape your attention . . . .”

(Note that the destruction of “the world that then existed” in 2 Peter 3:6 can have no reference to the destruction of the earth by water during Noah’s day.  This would not be in line with either the evident parallel between past and future destructions of the earth [2 Peter 3:6-7] or the septenary structure of the epistle [2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-8].

The future destruction will include the heavens as well, and, within the parallel, so must the past destruction.  The only past destruction that included the heavens was the pre-Adamic destruction in Genesis 1:2a.  The Noachian Flood in Genesis 6; 7; 8 had nothing to do with the heavens [apart from waters that God had placed above the earth’s atmosphere in Genesis 1:6-8 falling to the earth as torrential rain, providing part of the water that flooded the earth].

Also, the main emphasis in the destruction wrought by the Noachian Flood was a destruction of the people on the earth, not the earth itself.  No restoration of the earth occurred afterwards, as in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b], for such was unnecessary.  The waters were simply caused to recede over time [with a lifting of certain land masses and a lowering of others (Psalm 104:6-9 NASB)], with the earth’s terrain then remaining essentially the same, save for the terrain being left water-ravaged [with remnants of this still clearly visible in numerous parts of the western United States today (e.g., the Grand Canyon, other parts of Arizona, parts of Utah, etc.)].

Though a destruction of the earth occurred during Noah’s day [Genesis 6:13], this was not the same type of destruction that occurred in Genesis 1:2a; nor was it the same type of destruction referred to in 2 Peter 3:6 [necessitated by both the septenary structure of the epistle and a parallel between past and future destructions in this section of Scripture].

The two destructions in 2 Peter 3:6-7 are separated by at least 7,000 years.  One occurred at a time prior to the 7,000 years, necessitating a restoration of both the heavens and the earth at the beginning of the 7,000 years; and the other will occur at the end of the 7,000 years, necessitating the creation of “new heavens and a new earth” [cf. Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1].)

2)  FALSE TEACHERS (PRESENT)

During the first century “the gospel of the glory of Christ,” “the word of the kingdom,” “the hope of the gospel,” Paul’s “gospel,” “the saving of the soul” (cf. Matthew 13:19; Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Colossians 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:11; Hebrews 10:35-39) — all referring to the same central teaching — was widely proclaimed within Christendom.  In fact, Paul states in Colossians 1:23 that this message “was preached to every creature under heaven,” which would be to say that the message was proclaimed throughout all Christendom (for this message is to be proclaimed to the saved, not the unsaved).

Today though the situation has almost completely reversed itself.  This is a message seldom heard in Christendom.  The leaven that the woman hid in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33 has done its damaging work, and it will continue working until the whole of Christendom has been leavened; and, because of the working of the leaven, the Church will exist at the end of the dispensation in the state depicted by the Church in Laodicea — “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:14ff).

Both the destructive work depicted by the leaven in Matthew 13 and the deterioration depicted in Revelation 2; 3 center on the Word of the Kingdom, not other realms of biblical doctrine (e.g., salvation by grace), though these other realms would be adversely affected.  Such is evident from both sections of Scripture, understood within their contextual settings.  In Matthew 13:33 the matter relates to the kingdom of the heavens and the Word of the Kingdom (cf. Matthew 13:11, 19);  and in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 the matter relates to works and overcoming, with the judgment seat of Christ and the coming kingdom in view (cf. Revelation 1:10-20; 2:2, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 19, 26; 3:1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 21).

(Attention was previously called to homosexuality among Christians from both Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6, particularly in the light of that which Scripture has to say about the matter in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.  Christendom, in its departure from the Word of the Kingdom, has, toward the end of the present dispensation, correspondingly departed from that which Scripture has to say about homosexuality.  And this is the reason why an increasing number of local churches and Christian leaders today are straying farther and farther away from the Scriptures, beginning to look upon and accept the homosexual as someone with simply a different lifestyle, no longer recognizing a problem with this lifestyle.

This, of course, is something seen in a similar respect out in the world.  These days though — with the world often finding it advantageous to claim an association with Christendom, and Christians often intermixed with the ways and practices of the world — it is difficult at times to see a clear distinction between the world and the Church, where one ends and the other begins.

Suffice it to say that history is replete with accounts of nations that can trace their fall to the people forming these nations beginning, in an ever-increasing manner, to engage in sexual perversions — both hetrosexual and homosexual.  And, if time during Man’s Day were allowed to continue long enough, the United States, for this very reason alone, would find itself one day occupying a place in the graveyard of nations, with the tombstone properly marked.

And Scripture is quite clear as well that Christians following suit will one day find themselves in similar straits as matters relate to the Church rather than the world.  They will find themselves among those, as seen in Revelation 2:5, whose “lampstand” will be removed, which, contextually, has to do with being overcome rather than having overcome [having been overcome by the world, and/or the flesh, and/or the devil], subsequently failing to realize an inheritance in the kingdom [cf. Revelation 2:7, 26-27; 3:21].)

3)  THE MESSAGE (PAST, PRESENT)

A false message concerning the Word of the Kingdom today, unlike in the first century, would come more from ignorance than it would from knowledge.  Christians in general today have little to no understanding of the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom.  And not understanding this message, they end up with all types of perversions of Scripture when dealing with the numerous passages having to do with this subject.

(A good example would be the so-called Lordship Salvation teaching, which takes passages having to do with the Word of the Kingdom and attempts to apply these passages to the message of salvation by grace through faith.  Such not only corrupts one facet of the overall gospel message [the good news of the grace of God] but it destroys the other facet of the overall gospel message [the good news of the glory of Christ].  And this type of message is presently being widely proclaimed and received throughout Christendom, in both liberal and so-called fundamental circles alike.)

That’s where Christendom finds itself today.  And things are not going to improve.  In fact, according to Scripture, the opposite will result.  Things will instead deteriorate even further.  The leaven is going to continue doing its damaging work until the whole has been leavened (reference Matthew 13:33), resulting in conditions when Christ returns being exactly as He said they would be.

When Christ was on earth the first time He asked His disciples,

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith [the faith] on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

The answer to the question, according to the manner in which the question is structured in the Greek text, is “No.”  The Son of Man is not going to find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return.

The expression, “the faith,” has a peculiar reference to teachings surrounding the Word of the Kingdom (cf. 1 Timothy 6:11-15, 19; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Jude 1:3; see also the contextual setting of Luke 18:8).  And this is the message Christ will not find being proclaimed in the churches at the time of His return — the central message universally proclaimed to Christians during the first century, and the central message that should have been proclaimed throughout Christendom during the whole of the dispensation, throughout the past 2,000 years.

Matters though have become so far removed from reality in Christendom today that Christianity, from a biblical perspective, is hardly recognizable.  The Word of the Kingdom is ignored, despised, rejected, etc.  Christians have done about everything with the message but proclaim it.

In this respect, false teaching surrounding the Word of the Kingdom at the end of the leavening process is being accomplished after an entirely different fashion than it was at the beginning of this process.  At the beginning there were numerous Christians who understood this message.  Thus, a false message pertaining to the kingdom was necessary (e.g., 2 Peter 2:1ff; Jude 1:4ff).  Today though very few Christians have any comprehension of the message surrounding the kingdom at all.  Consequently, the present silence on the subject renders a false message, for the most part, unnecessary.

And both antagonism toward the message at the beginning of the dispensation and mainly silence concerning the message at the end of the dispensation will, together, serve to bring about the same end.  The Son of Man will not find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return.

4)  BUT NOTHING HAS CHANGED…

All of that which has occurred throughout the dispensation changes nothing insofar as God’s plans and purposes are concerned.  It changes nothing insofar as the structure of Scripture is concerned, that which God has revealed is concerned.

Nothing has changed.  Everything surrounding God’s revelation to man remains the same.

In this respect, it matters not whether man sees or doesn’t see foundational teachings concerning the saving of the spirit and the soul in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]; and it matters not whether man sees the purpose for restoration having to do with the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3.

The Word of God has forever beensettled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).  The teaching is there, it’s not going to change, and it’s not going to go away.

To illustrate the point, note God’s promise to His people in Malachi 4:2:

But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings . . . .

(The rising of the sun, bringing about a new day, is used in a metaphorical sense to describe the Son’s return.  God has established the time in which the sun rises above the horizon in relation to the rotation of the earth on each new day, at every point on earth.

Everything was set in motion by God, through His Son, in the beginning [cf. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3].  The sun will rise at a divinely-set time each day, and man can exert no control whatsoever over the matter.  Man cannot change the time or stop the movement;  he can do nothing whatsoever about that which God has established in this respect or in any other respect.

Thus, exactly the same thing said about the rising of the sun can be said about the divinely established timing of events surrounding the Son’s return.  The whole of the matter has been set in motion by God, in complete accordance with set times.  Until these set times arrive, man can do nothing to hasten their fulfillment.  But when these set times arrive, man can do nothing to slow down or stop their fulfillment.

And all of this has been foretold in God’s Word, in minute detail.

The nearness of that which will usher in the whole of the matter for the Church — God’s set time of arriving — can be seen on practically every hand, particularly in the decadent condition of Christendom, seemingly existing today in exactly the condition that Scripture had foretold that it would exist at the end of the dispensation.

And, the nearness of that which will usher in the whole of the matter for Israel and the nations — God’s set time of arriving — can equally be seen on practically every hand.  The distant hoofbeats of the four horsemen from Revelation 6, whose arrival will usher in events of the coming Tribulation, grow closer with each passing day, with each passing hour, with each passing minute, with each passing second.)

Thus, everything within the six days is still moving out toward that seventh day ahead, first spoken of in Genesis 2:1-3, referred to throughout Scripture, and climactically referred to with respect to a future realization in Revelation 20:1-6.  Whether man talks about it or doesn’t talk about it, whether man believes it or doesn’t believe it, whether man cares about it or doesn’t care about it is of no consequence whatsoever insofar as the finality — the bringing to pass — of that which is set forth at the beginning is concerned.

And viewing matters from another perspective, contrary to popular teaching, and for those who have eyes to see otherwise, it should be easy to understand that Revelation 20:1-6 is not the first mention of the thousand years in Scripture, providing the length of the coming Messianic Era.  Contrariwise, this is the capstone to all previous revelation on the subject, a subject beginning with the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3 and spoken of throughout Scripture. Then viewing another perspective of the matter, can man place too much emphasis on events surrounding Christ’s return and the establishment of His kingdom?  Can he, so to speak, “go to seed” on these things, as often expressed by those seeking to cast reproach upon this message?

The questions can be easily answered by simply seeing where the triune Godhead in the eternal council chambers of God placed the emphasis (Acts 15:14-18; Hebrews 1:2), where the writers of Scripture placed the emphasis within that which they wrote as “they were moved [‘borne along’] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), where Christ placed the emphasis during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:17-Acts 1:9), and where the emphasis is placed within His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of Christians today (Hebrews 10:19-39).

Everything in Scripture moves toward this one goal, beginning with that which was foreknown and predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God at a time before man was even created.

Peter stated the matter after this fashion:

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things [things having to do with Christian preparedness in view of Christ’s return and the coming kingdom], though you know and are established in the present truth.

Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,

knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. (2 Peter 1:12-15; cf. 2 Peter 3:1-2)

It is man who has turned Scriptural matters around, resulting from the working of the leaven.  There is a goal connected with the salvation that Christians presently possess (the salvation of the spirit [John 3:6], foreshadowed by events on day one in Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]); there is a goal connected with the present working out of one’s salvation (the salvation of the soul [Philippians 2:12-16; Hebrews 10:35-39], foreshadowed by events on days two through six in Genesis 1:6-25); and that goal is occupying a position with Christ during the coming day of His power (a realization of the salvation of the soul [Hebrews 1:13-2:10], foreshadowed by events on day seven in Genesis 2:1-3).

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Thus, apart from a brief mention of events occurring after the Messianic Era has run its course, along with the ushering in of the eternal ages that follow (Revelation 20:7-22:21), Scripture ends where it began.

Scripture began with a Sabbath rest following six days of restorative work, and Scripture ends with a subsequent Sabbath rest following six subsequent days of restorative work.  It is God’s revelation to man concerning His plans and purposes, covering two ages — 7,000 years of time — which God has placed between the eternal ages past and the eternal ages future.

The whole of God’s revelation has a divine structure, it is spiritual, and it must be spiritually discerned.

And though,

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

 God spelled backwards!

[Disclosure: The banner image at the top of this page is from a website inspired by the late Gary Whipple, one of my mentors.]

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