Introduction and Bible Divisions

Genesis

Introduction and Bible Divisions

March 7th, 1973

Genesis 1-3

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
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INTRODUCTION AND BIBLE DIVISIONS

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 1:1-3:15

Wednesday Special

3-07-73     7:30 p.m.

[They are] taught by the Spirit, and we know them, being able spiritually to discern them. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” [1 Corinthians 2:14].  So when we study God’s Book, it must be like this, “Dear God, bless my mind, bless my spirit, bless my soul, bless my understanding, bless my comprehension.  Lord, speak to me through the divine Word.”  It must be that kind of an attitude.  If you do not have that kind of an attitude, you might as well study a piece of ancient history or a piece of antique literature.  We approach the Word of God with a devout spirit: “Lord, speak to me through the revealed Word.”  When you do that you lift your effort, your study, into an altogether different world.

When I am out there in my study at home, I cannot tell you the number of times that I cry, I weep, I pray, I just am out there.  Would I do that over a piece of history or literature or secular work?  It would never occur to me.  I went to school, studied all those things – I majored in English as you know, in literature I learned those things. I was interested in them, I listened to the teacher, I passed examinations, but it never had a spiritual concomitant, never.  There was never a godly corollary that accompanied it; it is in a different world.  But this, if I learn at the feet of Jesus, I must have God’s Spirit to help me to understand.

Now, there are two ways that we can approach the study of the Bible; there are two possible approaches.  One is analytical; that is, breaking it down.  That’s the way practically everybody studies the Bible; they study it analytically.  That’s the way I’ve studied it all my life.  There is a Greek word, “analysis”; that is the Greek word, analusis.  It comes from analuo: ana means “up,” luo means “to unloose, to dissolve.”  So analuo means “to dissolve up.”  Well you say, “That’s a funny way to say a thing.”  Well, you do the same thing.  I hear some of you say, “You know, the house burned up.”  And then somebody else says, “Well, you know the house burned down.”  Now you tell me, which is it?  Does a house burn up or does a house burn down?  It’s just all in the mental nomenclature of how you frame the word.  Well that’s the word “analysis.”  Analysis, that is an exact Greek word, analysis.  It means “to loose up” or “to loose down, to break down.”  So the analytical study of the Bible is to take the Bible and to look at it in all of its little pieces and all of its parts, and studying it by text, and by paragraph, and by author, and by context, and just analytically studying the Bible, taking it all apart, looking at it.  Now that’s the way, as I said, all my life I’ve studied the Bible.

I have never studied the Bible synthetically.  And here is another Greek word.  The Greek word synthesis, synthesis; syn means “with”; “tithémi is “to put a thing, to place it.”  So “synthesis” is putting the thing together.  So a synthetical study of the Bible is the study of the Bible as a whole, looking at the whole thing and the relationship of its various parts to the whole.  I haven’t ever done that.  We’re going to do it Wednesday night after Wednesday night for sixteen Wednesday nights that’s the way we’re going to study the Bible, we’re going to look at the thing, the whole thing.  Could I liken it?

When I was a youngster I used to go, mostly because I was raised way out – the metropolitan population when I was there in the town I was fetched up in was three hundred, and when I left it was two hundred and ninety-nine – it thrilled me to see a big city.  So when I was a youngster, I used to go to a big city and get on top of the tallest building, and then look at all of it.  Then when I was down there on those concrete canyons, I had some idea of where I was.  Same thing about looking at a country: if you can ever get on a mountain peak and just look at the great arena before you, it’s a marvelous thing.  Then, when you’re down in it – like a forest, and when you’re in the forest it is nothing.  If you get up somewhere, where you can look at the great horizon, it will mean something to you.  Well, that’s the way with the synthetical study of the Bible.  Instead of analytically studying it, breaking it down, to study it synthetically – putting it all together, looking at the whole thing – and then when you come to its parts, it’ll be far more meaningful to you.

Now next, the Bible is one Book.  There are seven facts that attest to that unity.  This is a Book; it is one Book.  It bears witness to one God, a God who speaks and acts consistently; from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22.  What is it, 22:21?  From the first to the last, it is a witnessing to one God who acts and speaks consistently.  Second, it forms one continuous story and the story is humanity in its relationship to God.  It has one continuous narrative.  Three: it hazards – and it’s the only Book in the world that does it.  It hazards the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and after centuries have passed it records their fulfillment.

I preached a sermon on that one time in this very pulpit.  There’s no religion that has a prophet in it except this religion; there’s no book that makes prophecies except this Book.  The reason why is obvious: those prophecies would be, oh, it would be manifest that the prophet was a fool, he’s stupid.  Only God knows the future and He writes it in this Book.  And after the centuries pass, it will record their fulfillment.  Four: it progressively unfolds the truth.  Like Mark 4:28 says, “First the blade, then the ear, and after that the full grain”; the revelation is not given all at once, but it gradually unfolds through the Bible.

All right, five: writer after writer takes up the pen – there are about forty of them.  Writer after writer takes up the pen, and adds new details, but it’s the same continuous story all the way through.  Five: it testifies to one redemption, pointing to one great sacrifice for sins.  Six: it has one great theme, the person and work of Christ.  That’s what the Bible is about from beginning to end.  And seven: it produces a perfect harmony of doctrine, unfolding it through the ages.  The Bible is one book.

Next, as we look at the Bible we’re going to look at the great divisions that are in it, how the Bible is put together.  The word “Bible,” again, is a Greek word.  It’s the dominative of biblos, “Bible,” Book.  And it has two testaments; you call them “testaments,” the Greek calls it a diathêkê, and the Latin calls it a testamentum, and that’s where you got the word “testament.”  In classical usage, testamentum and diathêkê meant “a will,” like a man would make it.  Only one time, in the Septuagint, the Greek Septuagint, and in the Greek New Testament, is the word testamentum used to refer to a will.  I wonder if somebody would turn to Hebrews 9:16-17; who can do that quickly and stand up and read it out loud?  That’s the only time in either the Old Testament, the Greek translation of it, the Septuagint, or the New Testament – the Greek New Testament – that the word testamentum is used to refer to a will.  All right, now we’re going to read it twice.  All right, you read it first, Mrs. Bloskus:

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

That’s right.  All right, now you read it out loud, real loud:

 

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

That’s right.  Now, let me repeat in my own language what the author of Hebrews has said:

 

If you have a will, the will is not enforced until you die.  If you have a testament, it is not in force until the testator dies.  Only in the death of the testator does the testament find force, does it come to reality.

 

 Now that’s the only time in either the Greek Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible – or the Greek New Testament is that word used as “a will.”  But the word, diathêkê, is the translation of the Hebrew word, berith, and it means “covenant, promise, contract.”  So the Old Covenant is the right name for the Old Testament; and the New Covenant is the right name for the New Testament.  It is a contract, an old contract and a new contract, an old promise and a new promise.

What is the old contract?  The old contract is:  “Do this and thou shalt live.  Keep all these laws and you will live.”  That’s the Old Covenant, the berith, the testamentum, the diathêkê; that’s the Old Covenant, “do this and live, keep these laws and live.”  Has anybody here kept the laws?  Anybody here perfect?  Anybody here without sin?  That’s the Old Covenant.  Now the New – the kainê diathêkê, the New Covenant, the new berith, the new testamentum is, “This is My blood of the new,” and have you heard me read the Corinthian story, 1 Corinthians 11:26-29, of the Lord’s Supper.  Do you notice I always read – not according to the King James Version – but always read, “This is My blood of the new,” what word do I use? “covenant.”  I never change that, even though it’s written in this Bible, the King James Version, testament:  “This is My blood of the new testament, shed for the remission of sins.” I always read it, “This is My blood of the new covenant”; that is, promise, that is, contract.  Now, the old contract is, “Do this and thou shalt live, keep these laws and you’ll be saved”; the new contract is, “Lord, You know, and I do not try to deceive You, You know I’m a lost sinner and I’m pleading the mercy of God and the shed blood of Jesus.”  That’s the New Covenant.  And those are the two parts of the Bible:  the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant.

Now, the chapters and verses that you find in the Bible, in the Old Testament, those chapters and verses were made by Stephen Langton, who was archbishop of Canterbury and who died in 1228 AD, so it’s a long time ago.  And the New Testament was made by Robert Stevens in his edition of the Greek New Testament in 1551.  But you must always remember that when the Bible was written there were no chapters and no verses.  And the only reason to have a chapter and a verse is to find the place, that’s all.  But it’s a continuous writing.  Just like when you write a letter, you would not write in chapters and verses, you would just write a letter.  Well, that’s what they did in the Bible: they wrote these letters or these books, and it was years later that they were divided into chapters and verses – the Old Testament in 1228 AD, and the New Testament in 1551.

Now, in Luke 24:44, now somebody stand up and read that quickly,Luke 27:44.  Somebody stand up and read it out loud quickly, Luke 27:44, somebody standing up, anywhere?  Luke 27:44, huh?  Luke 24:44, all right, Luke 24:44, all right, read it out loud:

And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.

All right, Jesus took the Bible and He showed His disciples all the things that were written concerning Him in the Law, and in the Prophets, and in the Writings concerning Him.  That is, the Lord took the three great divisions of the Hebrew Bible.  And I have my Hebrew Bible that was worn out, and somebody rebound it for me, I have it here in my hands: the Law, the Torah – the Law, the Torah, that’s the first part of this Hebrew Bible.  The Prophets, the Nevi’im, that’s the second part of this Hebrew Bible, and that’s what the Lord was referring to.  And the Ketuvim, that’s the third part; the Hagiographa, the Writings, that’s the third part of the Hebrew Bible.

Now I want to show you just for a minute how the Hebrew Bible is put together.  The Law, as you know, is the Pentateuch, the Law is the Five Books of Moses.  The Prophets, in the Hebrew Bible, the Prophets is composed of twenty-one books, and that is a general collection of historical material, as well as lives and works of the major and minor prophets.  Now you look how they divided it.  In the Prophets are – and I read from the Hebrew Bible here – the books that are in it: Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  Now that’s the Prophets.  All right, the Writings, the Hagiographa are thirteen books.  One: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, those were devotional books read in synagogue services.  Second: Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, these were known as the five rolls which were read in lessons at festivals.  And three, the third part of the Hagiographa was Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles, which were supplementary to other historical books.  And that’s the way the Hebrew Bible is put together.  The last book in the Hebrew Bible is Chronicles, 1 and 2 Chronicles.

Now, until printing was invented, which happened in the middle of the fifteenth century, all the copies were made by hand, and they were extremely careful.  The same – I don’t know where the in the world you can see this or not – but every Hebrew Bible has the same note, the same spot, the same word, the same vowel, the same consonant in the same place on the same page forever.  Can you see how, in the most unusual and inexplicable way, the Hebrew Bible is written?  We don’t know why.  Can you see how that is written, those two columns?  Now I’m going to turn it again.  Can you see it there, how that is written?  Every Hebrew Bible known to mankind is written just like that, with those funny things on those pages.  The same letter, in the same spot, in the same place, in every Bible.  Now I’m going to turn it again; do you see how that – that’s called brickwork – how that is done?  Look over here in the – how the Bible – I’m just taking a few instances, it’s this way all the way through.  You see there how it’s written?  Every Hebrew Bible in the world, on the same page has that same spot, and these same unusual ways of putting it on the page.  And not only beside that, but when you get to the end of a book, when you get to the end of a book there are many, many notations, Hebrew notations, and these notations are – there are so many consonants, and so many words meaning God, and a whole lot of notations, so that every copy was made exactly like every other copy.

Now, to repeat something that I’ve said here in the pulpit several times, to me the greatest archaeological discovery in the human race is the Dead Sea Scrolls.  And the reason for that is, as I explain, the oldest Hebrew manuscript that you have was written about 1000 AD, the Masoretic Text, the Masoretes copied it.  And the Bible was copied, the Old Testament was copied, and copied, and copied, and copied, down through the centuries and the generations.  And the old copies were destroyed as the new copies were made.  Now, how do you know but that all kinds of error crept into the Word of God as it was copied down through the years, and the centuries, and the centuries that went on for uncounted generations?  Now how do you know that the thing isn’t filled with error?  Because the oldest manuscript we have of the Hebrew Scriptures was copied about a thousand years after Christ, the oldest one.  Well, Isaiah was written 750 years before Christ; so that’s 1,750 years between Isaiah and the oldest text that we have, the oldest manuscript we have of the Bible, of the Old Testament.  How do you know that it was the same?  How do you know but that many, many errors crept into it?  That’s why the Dead Sea Scrolls are important.  The Dead Sea Scrolls pulled the writing of the Bible back to 150 BC; over a thousand years it pulled it back.  So all you’ve got to do is to look at the present text of the Bible, and then go back and look at the Dead Sea Scrolls – at the text that was written a hundred fifty years before Christ, that is 1,150 years earlier – and compare the Dead Sea Scroll with what we have today in a manuscript a thousand years later.  And what do you find?  You find the greatest confirmation of the Word of God that could have ever been unearthed.  The Masoretic text, a thousand years after Christ, is exactly like the text written 150 years before Christ.  That’s what the Dead Sea Scrolls did to the Word of God.  It is a remarkable thing.

Now our Bible division: we divide our Bible into two great covenants, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  Now the Old Testament, our Bible, is arranged into four parts.  First, the five books of Moses; then the twelve historical books, Joshua through Esther; then third, the five poetical books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon; and last the seventeen prophetical books, the four major prophets with Lamentations, and the twelve minor prophets.  Now, our New Testament is divided along the same great lines; first we have the four Gospels, then we have the one history book which is Acts, then we have the thirteen Pauline epistles, then we have the Book of Hebrews, then we have the seven general epistles, then we have the Revelation.  And our Bible is put together like that.

Now I want to go over with you for a little bit – of the many study divisions of the Bible – how you can look at it in studying it.  I have about five different ways that I have picked out here to show you how you can study the Bible, just looking at it as a whole.  All right, here’s one way:  primeval history, from the beginning of the creation to Abraham; patriarchal history, from Abraham to the bondage in Egypt; Israelitist history, from the Exodus to the close of the Old Testament, the theocracy, the monarchy, the captivity, and the restoration.  Then in the New Testament, you have the history of Christ on earth, which is the four Gospels.  Then you have the history of the church, the Acts and the epistles.  Then you have the history of the consummation, the Revelation.  Now that’s one way of looking at the Bible as a whole.

I’ll tell you what I want you to do: I want you to get an idea of the thing and then as time goes on, if you want any of this mimeograph given to you, well, I’ll be glad to do it, be simple to do it.  But first I want you to get an idea, I want you to get a sense of something, and then the rest will come, and I’ll give it to you in detail.  But I want you to see how the thing is.

All right, here’s another way of looking at the Bible: the period of the beginning, Genesis 1:1 to the Flood; the period of the chosen family, Abraham to the Egyptian bondage; the period of the chosen people, Israel in Egypt to the monarchy; then the period of the kingdoms, Saul to the captivity; then the period of the captivity.  Now, the New Testament: you have the period of Christ on earth, the four Gospels.  You have the period of the church, the Book of Acts.  You have the period of the training of the church, which is the epistles.  And you have the period of the consummation, which is the Revelation.  Now that’s one way.

All right, here’s a third way, using the way of Christ that I – that Mrs. Gentry stood up and read: how He showed in those three divisions of the Old Testament, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, the things concerning Him.  And He used the word Psalms because that’s the most prominent one in the Writings.  All right, you have preparation which is the Old Testament; you have manifestation, which is the four Gospels; you have propagation which is the Book of Acts; you have explanation which is the epistles; and you have the consummation, which is the Revelation: that is one way of looking at it.

All right, here’s another way of looking at it, the fourth way: to look at it dispensationally.  How many of you have ever taught or studied the seven dispensations of the Bible, which is a way of teaching it?  Hold up your hands, all of you.  Well, there’s a great group of you.  Now, I have chosen Scofield’s seven dispensations as an instance of that.  Now, not all of these dispensations that the men will teach are the same.  A dispensation, according to Scofield, is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.  And then he says:

A deposit of God’s revelation, embodying what God requires of man as to his conduct,

That’s first.  Second:

Man’s stewardship of this divine revelation in which he is responsible to obey it

And third:

A time period or an age, a dispensation, in which the revelation is dominant, testing man’s obedience.

Now you remember when you do that, you remember that is a man-made device.  You make a mistake if you think that this is a part of the revelation of God, that there are seven dispensations in it.  Why are they not eight?  Well, I want to show you how you can put an eight to one here; but they like to have the word “seven.”  Now, this is a way to study the Bible, and it’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but this is a way.

All right now, these are the seven dispensations, according to Scofield.  First: the Age of Innocence, Genesis 1:28.  Second: the Age of Conscience or Moral Responsibility which is Genesis 3:7, when “their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked.”  Third: the Age of Human Government: Genesis 8:15, that is after Noah’s ark.  Fourth: the Age of Promise, Genesis 12:1, that’s to Abraham.  Fifth: the Age of the Law, the dispensation of the Law, that’s Exodus 20:1, when the Law was given.  Sixth: the Age of the Church which he puts at Acts 2:1, at Pentecost.  And seventh: the Age of the Kingdom which is Revelation 20:4; the millennial kingdom, a thousand years.  Now, you could also put an eighth one there, couldn’t you?  That is the eternity beyond the millennium; but he chooses seven.  Seven sounds good, and that’s just fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing.  But that is a way of teaching the Bible.

All right, here is a fifth way: there is a way of teaching the Bible according to ages, according to centuries, according to time.  So if you did that, why, you would have seven of these ages, seven of these time periods.  First, you would have the Creative Age: that’s when God made all this.  Then second, you would have the Patriarchal Age: back there when those men lived at the beginning.  Then third, you would have the Mosaic Age.  And then fourth, you would have the Israel’s Kingdom Age.  And then fifth, you would have the Age of the Wisdom Literature: like Job and Solomon’s Proverbs.  Then sixth, you would have the Age of Written Prophecy: now, that can be divided into four parts.  That would be the Assyrian Age – these writing prophets: Joel in the ninth century, Amos in the eighth century, Jonah in the eighth century, Hosea in the eighth century, Isaiah in the eighth century, Micah in the eighth century, and Nahum in the seventh century – now that’s the Assyrian Age.  Then second, you would have the transition to the next stage: which would be Zephaniah, who was under Josiah and Habakkuk, who was before the Chaldean invasion.  Then third, you would have the Chaldean Age, the Babylonian Age: with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Obadiah.  Then you would have the Restoration Age with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  And then last and seventh, you would have the century of Christ and the Church.  Now that’s a way of looking at the Bible, how it is put together according to its ages.

All right, now we’re going to pick it up.  Next time we’re going to study the canon of the Bible; there are many, many, many books that are not in the Bible that were written way back there.  Why aren’t they in the Bible?  Well, there are reasons there is a canon – that is, a rule – and a book that meets the canon is in the Bible.  And we’re going to study the canon next time.

Now each time we’re going to take the Bible and underscore these great passages.  So let’s take our new Bible, let’s take our new Bible, and tonight, we’re going to look at the Book of Genesis.  If I were you, I would put me a little red mark between Genesis [chapter 1], verse 1 and verse 2.  Sometime, when we have a moment, we may look at why to do that.  I think that all the geological ages are between verse 1 and verse 2, all of them.  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” [Genesis 1:1].  Isn’t that something?  How do you think God created anything?  Imperfectly?  If God did it, it had to be perfect.  “And the earth became,” now that’s a good translation of your word “was” there; “And the earth became [without] form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” [Genesis 1:2].

Now I want to show you, just for a minute, and we can’t take too long, why I think that the geological ages are between verse 1 and verse 2.  It is not until the fourth day; look at verse 14, it is not until the fourth day that God created the sun and the moon to shine on the earth:  “And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” [Genesis 1:19].   Well, how in the world did you have an evening and a morning for the three days beforehand if God created the sun and the moon and the stars on the fourth day?  Well, the reason is very obvious: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”; it says so.  Look at it, it says that.  Well, if God created the heavens up there we see there’s a sun in it; and if God created the moon up there, there was a moon in it.  He did that in the beginning.  Yet you get down here to the fourth day, and it says, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament” [Genesis 1:14]; He did not create the sun then or the moon then, that was done in the beginning.  What happened was, the earth was filled with mist and chaos and vapor and water, and it was all intermingled, and God separated the water and put some of it up there in the sky for clouds and some of it down here in oceans for great basins for it to the water of the earth, and He pulled out the dry land, and on the fourth day the phenomenon of sunset and sunrise appeared.  That’s the first day that they could see a sunrise and a sunset, because heretofore the world was so chaotic, it was so darkened, it was so intermingled with all kinds of mass, of matter, until you couldn’t see the sun, you couldn’t see the moon, there was no phenomenon of any of it.  And that light there on the first day was cosmic light.  There’s lots of kinds of cosmic light, yes.

[Questions from the congregation]  Perfectly possible; it was a chaotic mass, mess, matter everywhere, all mixed up.  And God brought order out of it.  I am just pointing that out to you to show you that to say that God created the sun and the moon on the fourth day is to give yourself to irrationality; there’s some other thing that happened.  And the thing that happened is logical; and if we had hours, and we may take it some time, we would look at that, because there’s a whole lot in the Bible about this: your great geological ages are between the first verse of Genesis and the second verse of Genesis.  So put you a little mark right there.

All right, now the next time you underscore – now we’re going to underscore here in the Book of Genesis, Genesis 1:26.  Underscore, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.”  Now underscore verse 27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them.”  Underscore that.  All right, now your next underscore, underscore Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

All right, turn the page.  In the second chapter of Genesis, take your red pencil and I would draw a line from 21 through 25.  That is the creation of Eve.  And then I’d underscore, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” [Genesis 2:24].  If you would like to underscore verse 17 in Genesis 2, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  And you can draw a line from 16 through 17 there.  Now, in the third chapter of Genesis, the first verse, I’d underscore that serpent.

And in the fourth verse is the first lie, “Ye shall not surely die.”  Look at his question mark about the Word of God in that first verse in Genesis 3:

 

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden, yea, did God say that?

And she said, We may eat of everything; but God said we are not to eat of that tree in the midst of the garden, lest we die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.

[Genesis 3:1-3]

The first lie, the first lie.

Now, the fifteenth verse is the most important verse in the Old Testament.  This is called the protevangelium.  That’s a good Greek word for “the first gospel,” the gospel before the gospel.  Genesis 3:15, the whole Bible is about this.  If you are looking for a text of the Bible, that is it:

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

The old rabbis picked that up, and they read that.  “I will put enmity between thee,” talking to the serpent, “and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed,” her seed.  And the old rabbis couldn’t understand.  Who has spermatozoa?  Now we’re adults, and I don’t need to be Victorian, or prudish, or puritanical, and shock you by these things.  Who has spermatozoa?  The male, isn’t that right?  Sperm – spermatozoa, sperm, seed – sperm is a Greek word for “seed.”  So they took the Greek word for “seed” and used it to describe a male’s sperm.  Does a woman have sperm?  No, she ovulates.  Isn’t that right, sweet nurse?  She has an egg that is fertilized by a sperm.  The old rabbis looked at that and studied it, and they couldn’t understand.  “The Seed of the woman will crush Satan’s head, the Seed of the woman.”  What did it refer to?  The virgin birth; not through the man, through the woman did He come to be the Savior of the world [Luke 1:27-35].  And the whole Bible is the unfolding of that tremendous text, “The Seed of the woman shall bruise Satan’s head.”

Now, we will pick it up next time.  I would love for all of you who will to enroll in the course.  Why?  For two reasons:  one, it will do you good to enroll in the course; second, ten dollars is not very much, and it will help our institute, it’s tax deductible.  Make the check out to the church.  I hope you will do that.

Now, somebody said, “What are we going to do about prayer meeting?”  This is what I thought we would do:  we’re going to be asked to leave quietly, and if we visit, it’s fine to visit, visit outside, visit outside.  But we’re going to close, and I’m going to kneel down here with this calendar of concern.  I’m going to pray for a few minutes, then I have an engagement over in my study tonight; but I’m going to pray, and if you would like to come down here and kneel, and close with a personal, private, intercessory prayer, do so.  Or if you would like to be seated there, just for a minute, silently praying, do so.  But we’re going to close each time on Wednesday night in a silent prayer.

And God bless you, I’ll see you Sunday in the power of the Lord, in a preaching worship service.  And I’ll see you next Wednesday night, opening the Bible, studying what God has written there for us.  And if you’ll stay with it, in these sixteen sessions you are going to be amazed at the things that you are going to see and learn and understand in this blessed Book.  You will be astonished at it, and God bless us in it.  All right, we’ll pray and we are dismissed.