In our last episode—Episode #4 of Biopic #1 on the life of Abram—we learned that following a life-altering, covenant-making encounter with God, when challenged by the Silence of God test, Abram failed miserably. Instead of taking God at His Word and waiting for Him to fulfill His promises, he gave into the temptation of trying to solve a spiritual challenge through the use of his own human reasoning and fleshly works. Just as Adam had done when he was tested in the Garden of Eden, Abram forfeited his position of Headship when confronted by the Influence Power of his wife, and with equally disastrous results. Here, just as in Adam’s case, we see the evidence that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was still producing its poisonous fruit…
The Fruit of the Two Trees
With that in mind…
God Shows Up Again in Genesis 17 to Get Things Back on Track…
…as once again, the curtain rises on our next episode. About thirteen years have passed since the end of our previous episode—meaning that it has been at least thirteen years since Abram has been visited by God—something our off-stage Narrator makes us aware us as this scene opens…
Script #5 for Biopic #1 Cast: Narrator God Abram
Narrator:When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him…
God:I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My Covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.
Narrator:Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying…
God:As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.
As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.
Narrator:Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God…
Abraham:Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!
God:No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.
Narrator:Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
With that, Episode #5 comes to a close, leaving us to launch our Review of this latest encounter between God and Abram.
Time to Don our Critic’s Cap and Get this Review Underway
To help us better understand the significance of this episode, let’s look at these three important aspects of it…
The Interlude of Silence The Clarified Terms of the Covenant The Sign of Covenant
The Interlude of Silence
Why do you think God waited for 13 years before making another appearance?
He may have been waiting for Ishmael to reach what was then considered to be the age of maturity. In doing so, He would be keeping the promise He had made to Hagar, as well as taking care of Abram’s descendant whom He had promised to bless.
What do you think was going on in Abram’s life during this period?
More than likely, life was going on as usual. Abram would have been attending to his business interests, Sarai would probably have still been resentful of Hagar,Hagar would have been caring for her son while still serving Sarai, and Ishmael would have been growing up into a young man.
Where do you think Abram was spiritually at this time?
He probably thought that he was okay spiritually. The fact that he hadn’t had another visit from God in thirteen years may have encouraged him to believe that his and Sarai’s plan to obtain a child through Hagar was God’s way of providing him with a son.
What do you think Abram’s state of mind was concerning Ismael during this time?
When God showed up to renew the covenant and told Abram that He was going to bless Sarai with a son, Abram didn’t believe it and asked Him to bless Ishmael. This would seem to indicate that Abram had been operating under the delusion that Ishmael was his promised son and rightful heir.
The Clarified Terms of the Covenant
In renewing His Covenant with Abram, the first matter that God addressed was the names of the parties involved in the contract. This was important because, in those days, a person’s name was more than just a form of identification, it also provided some insight into his character—with his name denoting or revealing a quality unique to that person. So, before implementing the covenant, God revised the names on the contract in order to reflect a change or new insight into the nature of each of its participants…
For God—Previously in Scripture, God had revealed Himself through a variety of names…
Elohim, in Genesis 1:1—as the Creator God who is Plural in Person but Singular in Purpose;
Jehovah/Yahweh, in Genesis 2:4—The Lord, the I AM—the Eternal, Unchanging, Self-Existent, Covenantal God of Revelation and Redemption;
Adonai, in Genesis 15:4—The Lord, the Sovereign God;
El Elyon, in Genesis 14:18—The Most High God—the God above all gods; and,
El Roi, in Genesis 16:13—The God Who Sees Me, ever watchful, ever caring.
Here, in Genesis 17:1, He reveals a new aspect of His Character through the name of El Shaddai—The All-Sufficient One, the Over-Powerer who is able to overcome every obstacle–even the deadness of Sarai’s womb–and achieve all of His Purposes.
For Abram—the one who had previously been known as the Exalted Father, would now be known as Abraham—the Father of a Multitude.
For Sarai—whose name meant Princess, as Sarah, she would from then on be known as My Princess.
El Shaddai is not limited by Sarai’s Broken Biological Clock
For God—this would be an Everlasting Covenant, with all the Land of Canaan being given as an Everlasting Possession to Abraham and his descendants—descendants from whom future Nations and Kings would arise.
For Abraham—he and his descendants must keep the covenant, with the Circumcision of every male child at eight days of age serving as the sign of their pledge to do so.
For Sarah—she would give birth to a son of her own, and through him she would become the mother of Nations and Kings.
For Ishmael—although he was not the son of promise, God would make him fruitful, with Twelve Princes and a Great Nation coming from him.
The Sign of the Covenant
What did circumcision signify?
As a blood sacrifice, it was to be a reminder of one’s need for redemption and a sign that a person belonged to God;
In the cutting away of the flesh, it was to be a mark of one’s separation from the world, as well as a sign of sexual purity and the dedication of one’s children to God; and,
It was a visual reminder that the terms of the covenant were still in force.
In what way was Circumcision unique for the Israelites?
In the other cultures where circumcision was practiced, it was usually performed when a boy reached the age of puberty and it served as his rite of passage into manhood. In Israel, however, it signified that an infant had transitioned from being a child of Adam to being a member of the God’s Covenant People. Later, after the Law had been given to the people through Moses, it also meant that he would have access to the Torah.
What was significant about the 8th day?
In Leviticus 12:2, we learn that when a woman had given birth to a male child, she was considered unclean for seven days afterward. On the eight day, both she and the child would be considered ceremonially clean.
Did circumcision make a person Righteous before God? Was Abraham made righteous through circumcision?
No, for according to Romans 4:11-12, Abraham…
…received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
And, in Romans 2:28-29, we are told that…
…he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
What would be a counterpart to circumcision in the New Covenant?
Baptism would be its counterpart in the New Covenant. Like Circumcision,Baptism does not save a person or make him righteous before God—it is simply the outward sign that an inward decision to trust God for Salvation has taken place.
Now, having examined these important aspects of this episode, let’s use what we have learned to answer the all-important questions of…
What Life Lessons can we take away from this episode in Abraham’s life?
When God promises to do something, He will do it. It won’t happen according to our schedule or timing, but at a time in keeping with His overall plans and purposes. Any attempts on our parts to “help” hurry the process along will only lead to sorrow and a further delay of our hopes.
What Contributions does this part of his story make to God’s One Big Story of Redemption?
As we shall see in upcoming episodes, God’s rejection of Ishmaeland His provision of a son through Sarah will provide Abraham and all of his descendants with an incredible prophetic picture of their coming Messiah and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What Revelations of God does this episode give us?
In the revelation of God as El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One, we are assured that no matter what obstacles we may encounter or how impossible the situations are that we find ourselves in, God is able to overcome them all and keep the promises He has made to us.
For Next Time…
Michael Fishbane, Judaism, at https://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Projects/Reln91/Blood/Judaism/circumcision/circumcision.htm
The Testing of Delay is One of the Hardest Ones to Pass
Last time, in Episode #3 of Biopic #1, we learned about Abram’s latest encounter with God. It came on the heels of his victory over the four Kings from Mesopotamia, his meeting with Melchizedek, and the temptation presented to him by the King of Sodom. During this encounter, God expanded upon His revelation to Abram, revealing to him for the first time that he would father a son of his own. Emphasis was placed on the fact that, at this promise of a Son, Abram believed God and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
At the time, God also reaffirmed His promise that Abram’s descendants would inherit the land, prompting Abram to ask for some tangible evidence—a guarantee of some sort—that this would be so. His request was followed by a dream in which God revealed to Abram the future of both those descendants and the land—a dream which was followed by a Covenant-Cutting Ritual in which God bound Himself by blood to fulfill His Promise.
In reality, this Covenant represented the Marriage Contract between God and Abram, in which Abram pledged his descendants—the future nation of Israel—to be God’s Wife. As such, it marked Israel’s Official Engagement to God and the beginning of their Betrothal Period—which would last until Moses (acting as God’s Proxy) comes to deliver Israel from her Egyptian bondage and carry her away to Mount Sinai, where their Marriage Ceremony is to take place. As this was an Unconditional Covenant on God’s part, all that was left for Abram to do was to Believe God and Wait on Him for its fulfillment.
Here, in Episode #4, we will see just how successful Abram was in doing that. As we await its commencement, here are a few that we need to keep in mind…
When this Episode opens, we don’t know how much time has passed since the end of Episode #3 but, because of the ages given for Abram, it probably wasn’t very long;
Although Abram has had a faith-producing encounter with God, his wife Sarai has not; and,
Not only is Abram at least 85 years old, but Sarai is at least 75—well past the age of childbearing—so the idea that God would give Abram a child through her is humanly impossible.
Episode #4 for Biopic #1 Cast: Narrator Sarai Abram Angel of the Lord Hagar
Bearing these things in mind, then, and with the curtain now rising on this Episode, we hear the voice of our off-stage Narrator once again, as he announces…
Narrator:Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram…
Sarai:See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.
Narrator:And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram…
Sarai:My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me. So Abram said to Sarai…
Abram:Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.
Narrator:And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence. Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said…
Angel of the Lord:Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?
Hagar:I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.
Angel of the LORD:Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand. I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.
Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Narrator: Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
A Human Solution is Never a Good Solution
At this, the curtain descends, not only marking the ending of this Episode, but also the beginning of our Critical Review.
So far, in our journey with Abram, we have seen God slowly and methodically revealing Himself and His plans for Abram. We have also seen that following each of these revelations, there has been a period of testing—with this latest revelation proving to be no exception. In this case, however, Abram wasn’t being tested by fear for his own safety, the lure of riches, or the threat of warfare, but by the Silence of God as he waits for Him to honor His promises.
The Test of Silence— or, Learning to Walk in the Light of the Last Revelation
Shhh–The Test of Silence is Underway
I’m inclined to think that after such an exhilarating experience as the covenant-cutting ritual, Abram was expecting to see God act on his behalf immediately. After all, what would be the point of any further delay…
Both he and Sarai were already well past childbearing ages, so the birth of a son now would still be a miracle for which God would get the glory;
Having lived in the Land of Promise for ten years and having paid their dues there by now, they had already waited long enough; and,
With God having made such a big production of this latest Revelation, wouldn’t this have been a good indication that its immediate fulfillment was all but guaranteed?
So why the silence, why the wait, why the delay?
In order to answer this question, we first need to determine just what God wants to accomplish through our testing? We can get an idea of His objectives in the following passages of Scripture…
Some of God’s Objectives in Testing
That being said, let’s now look at the particulars of our Story to see if we can determine what God wanted to accomplish in the lives of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar through the Test of Silence and Delay…
Who initiated the action in this episode and why?
Sarai did—no doubt because she felt like a failure as a woman. To be unable to bear a child in that culture was considered to be a sign of God’s displeasure. If Abram had come home and told her all about his encounter with God, thinking that it was her fault that they were still childless, she may have thought it was her responsibility to remedy the situation.
Was Sarai’ssolution to their problem a legitimate one?
While it was perfectly legal and culturally acceptable at this time to use one’s servant as a surrogate, it was not God’s solution to the problem. It demonstrated a lack of Faith in His Promises and His ability to do the impossible.
Abram“heeded the voice of his wife”—what past event does this recall? What was the outcome of that event?
This, of course, takes us back to Man’s Testing in the Garden of Eden. Here, just as in the case of Adam and Eve, instead of acting as Head over his household, Abram caved into pressure exerted by Sarai—with likewise disastrous results. In this instance, pleasing his wife (perhaps silencing her complaints and laments) became more important that believing God.
How does Sarai respond to the circumstances which she brought about?
Rather than admitting that she made a mistake and taking responsibility for the consequences of it, she blames Abram. Like Eve, she shifts the blame—this time to Abram, who then shifts it back to her.
Hagarflees…what kind of treatment should Hagar have expected from people professing to know God?
Since Hagar was Egyptian, Abram and Sarai most likely brought her back with them when Pharaoh kicked them out of Egypt. As an idol-worshiper who had come to live in the home of “God’s People,” she should have expected to be treated with more consideration, rather than as a baby-making machine.
The Angel of the Lord makes His first recorded appearance here. Who does He appear to and what does He do?
The appearance of the Angel of the Lord here is likely a Pre-Incarnate Visitation of Christ—who, instead of appearing to Abram or Sarai, seeks out the lost and the outcast Hagar. This is reminiscent of the Good Shepherd who, in pursuit of the one lost sheep, leaves the ninety-nine behind.
What is significant about the Angel’s instruction to Hagar?
It is very much like what we read in 1 Peter 5:6-7…
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Although Hagar has been treated badly by Sarai, she is told to go back and submit to her authority once again. In so doing, she and her child would be protected and provided for by the Lord.
What does Ishmael represent? In Galatians 4:22-26, the Apostle Paul explains his spiritual significance in this way….
…that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
As Hagar is a picture to us of the Old Covenant which gives birth to bondage, Ishmael becomes a picture of the Works of the Flesh produced by those living under that bondage.
Now, to see what the Test of Silence, Delay, and Waiting accomplished or revealed in the lives of the parties involved, let’s assess them in the following way…
A Scorecard for Abram, Sarai, and Hagar
Before leaving this Episode, and in order to complete our Review, we need to ask ourselves these all-important questions…
What Life Lessons can we take away from Abram’s experiencehere?
One of the most important lessons that we can take away from this is, if we fail or refuse to wait upon God and attempt to accomplish His Will through our own human wisdom and fleshly means, we will…
Wreak havoc in our homes and in our relationships;
Delay even longer the fulfillment of God’s Promises to us; and,
Give our enemies and the enemies of God an opportunity to question our salvation and to bring a reproach upon God.
Does this Episode make any contributions to God’s One Big Story of Redemption?
As a result of his lapse of Faith and his failure to wait on Godfor His Provision of a Son, Abram‘s self-effortsproduced Ishmael—whose descendants have been Israel’s enemies throughout most of her history.
Are there any Revelations of God to be found in this part of HisStory?
Although Godis noticeably silent where Abram and Saraiare concerned, He reveals Himself to Hagar as the Godwho desires that all—both Jew and Gentile—to come to Repentance and Faith through His Son,Jesus Christ.
Images of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar courtesy of freebibleimages.com.
To try and put into perspective just where we are in our current series of exercises in Spiritual Warfare, let’s take a moment to recap what we accomplished during our last three workout sessions. In…
Getting the Lay of the Land—we began creating a spiritual map of Satan’s kingdom, with a survey of its Celestial, Terrestrial, and Subterranean Divisions—that is, the vertical dimensions of its territory;
Evolution and Education—we looked at some of the ways the Educational System has been used to supplant the long-held Biblical Worldview with the godless Secular One needed for the brainwashing of generations of unsuspecting teachers, students, and parents.
Since our last session was the first of two dealing with the Structures making up Satan’s Cultural Landscape, this session, as the second of the two, will deal with the Structure ofMedia; for, it is through this Structure that our emotions are bombarded relentlessly in a devilish crusade to alter the way we feel about ourselves, our relationships, and the things that we value in life. Remember, Satan’s goal in all of this is to get us to think, feel, and act in accordance with his purposes which, as we should know by now, are in direct opposition to those of God. Here is what we have learned about God’s purposes over the course of these exercises…
God’s purpose in creating Man was to provide Himself with a Family to love, both now and throughout eternity.
Before Man could qualify as a member of God’s Family, though, he first had to be like his Father in every important respect. Therefore, when God created Man, He made him in His Image and Likeness, to be a visible reflection of Him and His Character in the World, as well as the Steward or Executor of His Will upon the earth.
Because God is Spirit, He created Man as a Spirit Being which He then placed in the two houses He called Male and Female. As Spirit, Man could relate to God and, in the physical houses of Male and Female, he could (re)produce the Family that God has always desired to have.
Because he was created first, the Man was placed in the Position of Head over God’s Creation; with the Woman being created later, as his Companion and Helper in carrying out the Work of God in the world.
This arrangement, however, did not mean that the Male was superior to the Female–it was simply to provide a system of order and accountability for God’s Kingdom Work on the Earth. For, from the beginning of their history together, Man and Woman were both…
Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
In his Position as Head, the Man was to be an Image in the world of the Headship of God the Father; the Woman was to be an Image of the complementary Nature and Work of the Holy Spirit; while the Children produced from their union were to be living testimonies of their Love, as well as Images of the Obedience and Love of Jesus Christ to and for God His Father.
God’s purpose for the Human Family, then, was for it be an Image in the natural of the Family that God was creating for Himself in the supernatural—a Spiritual Family that He wanted every human being to be a part of.
When it came to their relationship to the physical world around them, as the Sons and Daughters of God, Man and Woman were to exercise dominion over their Father’s Creation, Imaging the Righteous Rule of God while administering His Holy Will on the earth, just as it is already being done in heaven.
To summarize, then, God’s Purposes for Man (as male and female) was to provide the world with an…
Image in the flesh of the Triune God; Image in the flesh of God’s SpiritualFamily; and, Image in the flesh of God’s Kingdom Rule.
We Were All Created to Reflect the Image of God to the World
Getting Rid of One Image…
It should be obvious to us by now that God’s Purposes for Man have everything to do with Image; and, that in every aspect of his being—in his Spirit, Soul, and Body— Man has been imprinted with the likeness of his Creator. Just as earthly kings and emperors have, throughout most of human history, placed their images on the coins and stamps that were circulated throughout their domains, the Sovereign King of the Universe placed His Image on every human being who has ever lived, so that as they circulated throughout His Earthly Domain…
…the earth [would] be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
In light of this, it should come as no surprise that the destruction of the Image of God in Man—and the replacement of it with his own perverted one—has been Satan’s primary objective from the beginning of time. Since Man’s maintenance of the Image of God required that he maintain…
Righteousness in his Relationship with God;
Love in his Relationships with Others; and,
Authority in his Relationship to the Earth…
…Satan’s strategy for the destruction of that Image required that he find a way to…
Sever Man’s Relationship with God through Disobedience;
Replace Godly Love with Lust in Man’s Relationships; and,
Usurp Man’s Authority over the Earth.
This he accomplished in one fell swoop with his successful temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—the consequences of which were…
With Man’s disobedience came death—an immediate spiritual death or separation from God, to be followed later by physical death. This spiritual death brought with it an end to Man’s communication with God; depriving him of his ability to receive instruction from the Spirit of God on what he was to do and how he was to live, and leaving him at the mercies of the world, the flesh, and the devil;
Lust entered the world and into human relationships when Eve acted on her craving to have that which was forbidden; and, with this action, the drive to satisfy one’s own selfish desires became more important than doing what it right; and,
When it came to Man’s Authority over the Earth, this priceless gift was forfeited by Adam when he, by succumbing to the Influence Power of his wife, abdicated his Headship and gave up the Position Power that went along with it. Consequently, Man’s Authority was given over to Satan, and God’s Order for Creation was overturned, all because…
A member of the Animal Kingdom had usurped the authority of the Woman;
The Woman had used her Powers of Persuasion to usurp the authority of the Man; and,
The Man had rejected the authority of God and His Word and given up his position of Headship in the process.
…And Replacing It with Another
Knowing now that God’s Purposes for Man have always been about his projection of a Godly Image in and throughout the world; and, given that Satan, as the master counterfeiter, has a Corrupted Image of his own that he wants Man to bear, how can we know what this counterfeit image looks like? Well, all we have to do is invert God’s Image for Man to reveal the one determined for him by Satan…
The Truth Versus the Lie
As for how to go about replacing the Godly Image with his counterfeit one, Satan has that all worked out; for, even now, he is in the process of…
Eliminating human sexual distinctions and making society Gender-Neutral;
Tearing down traditional Authority structures and reducing everyone (except those who are pulling the strings behind the scenes) to the same base level for the purposes of corporate servitude;
Destroying the nuclear Family and replacing it with a Universal Brotherhood of Man, where everyone and everything is tolerated—with the exception of those holding to Biblical values; and,
Demoting Man from his divinely-ordained status of Lord over Creation to that of a mere animal within the Creation (as we discovered in our previous session, this is something that has been achieved through the teaching of Evolution).
To anyone else, such undertaking would certainly have been written off as an impossible mission long ago, however, the Prince of the Power of the Air remains completely undaunted at the prospect of its achievement. That’s because, he has found a way to use the airwaves over which he rules as a weapon—the powerful weapon known to us as the Media.
Media—The What, the Why, and the Who
To be sure that we have the same understanding of the term and the strategic part it plays in Satan’s offensive, we now need to identify…
What Media is; Why it is Satan’s weapon of choice; and, Who is manipulating the messages it conveys.
For our purposes, Media is defined as…
a plural of medium;
(usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely.
As for its usage…
Media, like data,is the plural form of a word borrowed directly from Latin. The singular, medium, early developed the meaning ‘an intervening agency, means, or instrument’ and was first applied to newspapers two centuries ago. In the 1920s media began to appear as a singular collective noun, sometimes with the plural medias. This singular use is now common in the fields of mass communication and advertising, but it is not frequently found outside them…
We can understand Media, then, to represent the collective agencies, means, or instruments that a sender uses to communicate a particular message to a specific receiver or group of receivers; with Communication itself being defined as…
…a process involving the sorting, selecting and sharing of symbols in such a way as to help a receiver elicit from his or her own mind a meaning similar to that contained in the mind of the communicator; and…
Mass Communication being defined as…
…a process whereby professional communicators use technological devices to share messages over some distance to influence large audiences.
Since it is this Mass Communication aspect of Media that Satan has commandeered for his own evil purposes, it is essential that we learn why he has chosen it as his weapon of choice.
There are at least three reasons to account for Media’s effectiveness when used as a weapon…
Throughout much of human history, if someone wanted to convey his thoughts or feelings to someone else, he had to do so in person—within shouting range of that person, at least. Apart from the use of drum beats, smoke signals, homing pigeons, letters, or the use of runners or relays similar to the pony express, there was just no way for people to communicate with other people—especially large numbers of them—over long distances. However, this began to change after the German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468) invented the process of movable type…
Prior to that time, most books were handwritten and very time-consuming to produce. Because of this, reading material was scarce and limited to those in the elite culture—the clergy and nobility…Gutenberg’s invention increased the number of books and made them available for a new emerging middle class.
The development of printing, which led to the spread of literacy for the middle classes, plus the development of trade and commerce caused major cultural changes.
One of these major changes was the Protestant Reformation (c. 1517-1648)…
The Reformation, led by a German monk, Martin Luther, was the first mass movement made possible by mass communication. Print was used to mobilize people of all social classes…
Luther and his followers used mass-produced pamphlets to distribute the new religious thoughts to the masses. They communicated with the illiterate through pictorial prints, much like present day editorial cartoons, which carried propaganda messages against the Catholic Church and the pope.
After mass communication developed, more and more people learned to read and write, especially among the middle classes.
As literacy increased and more information became available to the masses, more and better ways to disseminate it became necessary. This need was eventually met through the development, over time, of books and novels, newspapers, letter-writing and new or improved postal services, the telephone, telegraph, phonograph, photography, radio, films, television, and the internet—and the communications web which is currently encircling the globe. In fact, this web is now so pervasive that even people living in huts in some of the most remote parts of the world, without electricity or indoor plumbing, can somehow reach or be reached by some type of the Media!
The Reasons for the Media’s Effectiveness
As a weapon, Media is effective not only because it is pervasive but also because its powerful; In fact, it’s powerful enough to…
Expose people to people, places, ideas, and products that they would never come into contact with or considered otherwise;
Capture the attention and imagination of millions of people with one thirty-second commercial, making millions of dollars for its advertisers in the process;
Unite completely disparate groups of people around a cause by playing upon their fears or emotions;
Build up or tear down huge corporations, illustrious professional careers, and even governments;
Prompt people to re-examine what they believe and convince them to re-evaluate their value systems; and,
Change a society through the promotion of some practices and lifestyles, and the condemnation of others.
What gives Media the power to do all of these things is its ability to manipulate images. As Elizabeth Thoman, in an article for the Center of Media Literacy, explains…
…the consumer culture as we know it could never have emerged without the invention of the camera and the eventual mass-production of media images it made possible.
In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes described photography as the most remarkable achievement of his time because it allowed human beings to separate an experience or a texture or an emotion or a likeness from a particular time and place—and still remain real, visible, and permanent. He described it as a ‘conquest over matter’ and predicted it would alter the physics of perception, changing forever the way people would see and understand the world around them. Holmes precisely observed that the emergence of this new technology marked the beginning of a time when the image would become more important than the object itself and would in fact make the object disposable.
Today, we can attest to the accuracy of Holmes’ observation and prediction; for, anyone with a camera phone can quickly and easily record an image which they later, with the aid of computer software, can manipulate in any way that they choose. With this newly created image—of something that never really existed—a photographer can dispose of the original and then replace what was real and true with a fantasy of his own making—which is something that those in the Media do every day.
Its power, then, along with its pervasiveness, has made it possible for Media to become something that is also extremely personal. Just think about it…
A television set is on for nearly eight hours in the average American home each day, with each occupant viewing something on television for nearly four hours daily. The average American listens to radio over three hours each day. Add video games, Internet browsing, DVD watching, occasional movie attendance, and roadside billboards to this equation, and it is clear that Americans are deluged with mediated messages in every waking moment.
By now, media use (and misuse) is just an accepted aspect of American culture, as people have become protoplasmic blobs being washing over by countless messages that seek to alter your political views, make you buy something, or change your values. These narcotizing messages seek to keep you watching so that your eyeballs can be sold to advertisers.
Media usage has become more than a supplement to our American lifestyle; it has become perhaps the largest aspect of our lifestyle. More productive pursuits like exercise, family interaction, community work, and household duties are over looked in order to keep up with American Idol or catch the big ball game on TV. For most Americans, time spent with the media surpasses time spent at work or at sleep, and certainly surpasses interaction with friends and family.
And, if you’re anything like me, the cell phone is one of the last things—along with the lights—that we turn off at night, as well as one of the first things that we check when we get up in the morning—so, it doesn’t get much more personal than that!
Today’s Media Landscape
Now that we know a little about the what and the why of Media, it is time for us to learn something about the who behind it. In other words, who are the people or groups whose pockets go deep enough to buy and control this very expensive and highly profitable global communications network, and how are they using this powerful tool to advance Satan’s agenda?
Who owns it?
Throughout much of the twentieth century, Media ownership was regulated by laws enforced by the Federal Communications Commission—laws including…
the 1941 National TV Ownership Rule, which prohibited broadcasters from owning television stations that could reach more 35 percent of the nation’s homes;
the 1970 Radio/TV Cross-Ownership Restriction, which prevented broadcasters from owning a radio and a TV station in the same market; and,
the 1975 Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Prohibition, which was designed to limit the ownership of a newspaper and a TV station in the same market.
However, during the Reagan administration, new laws were enacted which dramatically reduced government regulation of the Media and initiated what was soon to become an unprecedented period of consolidation for the large mass-media companies in the United States. Whereas, in 1980, about fifty corporations were controlling nearly all of U.S. Media, today, that control has been consolidated in just a handful of MediaConglomerates–with only recently, two of the largest media mergers ever to take place having been announced—these being, AT&T’s offer to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion, and the Walt Disney Company’s bid of more than $52 billion to buy out much of 21st Century Fox’s holdings. After this, according to information gathered for National Public Radio, the major owners of digital media, with a sampling of their holdings, will be…
Walt Disney Company—including 21st Century Fox and its properties, ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Freeform, Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Touchstone Pictures, Lucasfilm, Disney Digital Network, Polaris, Disneyland, Walt Disney World and other parks and resorts;
21st Century Fox—Fox News, Business, Sports, TV Network, National Geographic Partners, FX, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Blue Sky Studios;
Time Warner, Inc.—CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers, Cinemax, TBS, TNT, NBA.com, MCAA.com, TMZ.com, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, DC Comics, Bleacher Report;
AT&T—AT&T, DirecTV, Cricket Wireless, U-verse, YP.com (Yellowpages.com), Sky Brasil, Time Warner and its properties;
Comcast Corporation/NBC Universal—XFINITY, NBC News, Sports, TV Network, MSNBC, CBNC, NBC Entertainment, Telemundo, Bravo, Sprout, USA Network, Syfy, E!, Philadelphia Flyers, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Focus Features, Universal Studios and other parks and resorts, Golf Channel, Oxygen;
CBS Corporation—CBS News, TV, Radio, Entertainment, Sports, Showtime, Simon & Schuster, Smithsonian Channel, CNET, ZDNet, TV Guide, Last.fm, Metacritic, Chowhound, Gamespot, Watch! Magazine;
Viacom, Inc.—Paramount Pictures, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, VH!, Nickelodeon, Spike, CMT, Centric, Logo TV, TV Land, Tr3s;
Univision Communications, Inc.—Univision TV, Radio, Digital Networks, Fusion, The Onion, The Root, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Uforia;
com, Inc.—Amazon Prime, Cloud Drive, Web Services, Marketplace, Whole Foods, Echo, Fire TV, Kindle, Audible, Twitch, IMDb, Goodreads, AbeBooks, ComiXology, DPReview, Zappos and other online retailers, The Washington Post;
Alphabet, Inc./Google—YouTube, Android, Chrome, Nexus, Pixel, Google Home, Blogger, Zagat, Nest, Waze, Verily, Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Hangouts and other apps, Project Fi; and,
Some of the companies not included in NPR’s listings are the leaders in the Radio and Print Industries…
Clear Channel—which owns 866 radio stations and Premiere Radio Networks (a national radio network that produces, distributes or represents approximately 90 syndicated radio programs, serves nearly 5,800 radio station affiliates and has over 213 million weekly listeners, and with programs including the Rush Limbaugh Show, Glenn Beck and the Sean Hannity Show); Fox Sports Radio; Fox News Radio; Australian Radio Network;
Bertelsmann—one of the world’s largest media companies, it also owns Random House (with over 200 imprints in 15 countries, including the Ballantine Publishing Group, the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Broadway, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, Pantheon, Random House U.K.), the Knopf Publishing Group, and Waterbrook Press;
The Hearst Corporation–a media conglomerate that controls or has ownership stakes in newspaper, magazine, television, cable network and Internet properties—including Twenty U.S. magazines (like Car and Driver, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, O, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Seventeen andWoman’s Day); King Features (syndicator of newspaper comic strips including Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace, Popeye); Black Book; Hearst Business Media (Electronics Products Magazine; Floor Covering Weekly); IDG/Hearst; Hearst Books; Hearst News Service; and,
The Tribune Company—which owns 23 TV stations, one radio station, 12 daily newspapers- including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sunand the Hartford Courant, and numerous magazines and other media properties.
Why is this information so important for us to know? Because these are the companies that are controlling what we read in print, what we hear on the radio, and what we see on television, at the movies, and on the internet every day. These are the groups who, through the Image Culture they are helping to create, are replacing our reality with their fantasy, and reshaping our values and our views on life and of the world. And, without a doubt, these are the organizations which, as they continue to consolidate, will provide the Coming World Ruler with the Communications Monopoly he will need to control the world and the mindset of its entire population.
Going back to our earlier definition of Mass Communication, then, we can now identify these Media Giants as…
…the professional communicators who are using [their] technological devices to share messages over some distance to influence large audiences.
This, of course, begs the following questions…
What kinds of messages are they choosing to share; and
How are they attempting to influence us through these messages?
What Messages are Really Being Communicated
Mediated Messages and Influence Peddling
Although there are millions—perhaps even billions—of messages conveyed through the Media each day, of particular interest to us are those which are designed to…
Separate Us from Our Money; Steal Our Identity; and, Secure Our Support or Sway Our Vote.
Separating Us from Our Money
There can be no question that the most plentiful and the most obvious messages are those whose purpose it is to sell us something. Every day, no matter which way we turn, we are confronted by advertisements of one kind or another. That’s because…
One of the basic ingredients of American popular culture is consumption, and it is the advertising industry that makes mass consumption possible. Advertising sells us sexuality, beauty, youth, fashion, happiness, success, status and luxury. When Calvin Klein, for example, advertises blue jeans, he is selling us sex appeal, not jeans. Polo sells us fashion status and Miller beer offers us macho good times.
Advertising is an important element of our culture because it reflects and attempts to change our life styles. New cultural trends and fashions are first transmitted to the mass culture through advertisements.
It is estimated that, by the time a person raised in the United States reaches the age of 21, he or she has been exposed to 1 million to 2 million advertisements. The cumulative effects of this lifelong exposure plays a significant role in shaping our behavior, social beliefs and values.
And one man who was extremely instrumental in the success of advertising as we know it today was noted psychologist and radical behaviorist, John B. Watson; for it was he who…
…recommended to advertisers that they could make a fortune by manipulating basic human motivations and emotions to their advantage, and often, of course, to the consumer’s disadvantage. One of his basic ideas, used with gusto and impunity by advertisers today, was to convince people that their possessions were inferior and consequently that they needed new possessions. In other words, he helped create the modern consumer mentality…
As a result, day in and day out, consumers are bombarded with messages telling them that they need to buy bigger houses, newer cars, the latest fashions, and the best technological devices—and that, for their overall well-being, they need to take more vacations, eat out more often, and still somehow manage to lose weight. Far from benefiting from this consumer mentality, more Americans than ever are finding themselves over their heads in debt, more overweight, and more stressed out and feeling inadequate than ever before. What has really been sold and bought, then, is the lie that more will make us happy; an exchange that has most often taken place right under our noses, in our very own living rooms. Or, as Kalle Lasn, a co-founder of the Canadian media criticism and environmentalist magazine Adbusters describes it…
…In the privacy of our living rooms we made a devil’s bargain with the advertising industry: Give us an endless flow of free programs and we’ll let you spend 12 minutes of every hour promoting consumption. For a long time, this seemed to work. The ads grated on our nerves but it was a small price to pay for ‘free television.’ What we didn’t realize when we made our pact with the advertisers was that their agenda would eventually become the heart and soul of television. We have allowed the most powerful communications tool ever invented to become the command center of a consumer society defining our lives and culture the way family, community and spiritual values once did.
Sadly, with our eyeballs having been sold to the highest advertising bidder in this way, many of us are ill-equipped to recognize the dangers inherent in the next set of Messages when they come our way.
Eyeballs for Sale
Stealing Our Identity
If advertisements are the most plentiful and most obvious of Media’s Messages, surely the subtlest are those that are designed to steal our identities. Usually, when we hear the term Identity Theft, we think of a person whose financial information has been stolen by some unknown internet hacker, who has made off with his or her social security number, or bank and credit card account numbers. As devastating as this kind of crime can be to an individual’s long-term financial situation and reputation, there is a crime that is far more subtle and insidious being perpetrated upon the numberless recipients of Mass Media’s Messages. This crime is the slow, subconscious, yet systematic theft of each recipient’s God-given Image and Spiritual Identity—a loss of reputation which will have everlasting ramifications.
Through the Media’s programming of television, music and music videos, movies, the internet and social media, and video games, today’s airwaves have been saturated with Images promoting hedonistic and godless lifestyles. By appealing to our flesh—that is, our baser human instincts—they have successfully convinced many of us that what is evil is really good, and what is good is really evil. Routinely, their Images have been and are being used to promote…
Idolatry and a rejection of God; Vulgarity, swearing, and cursing; Disrespect for parents and of one another; Disrespect for authority and for life; Drunkenness and substance abuse; Lying, cheating, stealing; Violence and murder; Greed, covetous, and corruption; Sexual immorality—both heterosexual and homosexual; and, Marital infidelity and divorce.
In case you hadn’t noticed, each of these is a violation of God’s Standard of Righteousness, better known as the Ten Commandments—and is something which God has repeatedly warned will be judged and punished. Not only that but, each time a person buys into the lies embedded within Media’s Messages, that person trades the Image of God that he was designed to bear for the one that Satan has long been trying to imprint upon him. And without the light and salt effects produced by that missing Godly Image, individuals have become devoid of purpose in life, families have fallen apart, and the moral fabric of society has, over time, been eroded.
What We Take in Helps Make Us What We Are–or Shouldn’t Be! Securing Our Support or Swaying Our Vote
Securing Our Support or Swaying Our Vote
No where is this erosion more evident than in the Media Messages whose intent it is to secure our support or sway our vote—with the Media’s coverage of Politics and Public Affairs being a prime example. In my lifetime alone, journalism—both print and television—has gone from being a respected and objective source of information to being a dog-and-pony show, with its blatant liberal bias on display for all to see. Instead of just relaying the facts, today’s reporters have taken to giving their opinions instead, as they attempt to impress and gain a following with their editorialization of the stories they are covering. Instead of real news reporting being the order of the day…
…studies have confirmed that the focus in journalism has shifted over the last two decades from an emphasis on policy, politics, ideas, and analysis to the current agenda of scandal; personality; human interest, entertainment, and spot-news cop-shop stories of crime, wrecks, and fires. In most local television news markets, stories about crime outnumber stories about government and policy by a more than three-to-one margin.
One must question whether the media help or hinder our collective ability to learn what is really happening in the world, and whether television news is trying to dazzle us or inform us.
Further evidence of society’s erosion can be seen as a result of its embrace of all things “gay”—the promotion of which has been one of Mass Media’s most cherished causes. Once again, just over the course of my life, the major Media outlets have gone from producing television programs and films which wouldn’t even show married couples sharing the same bed to shows and movies promoting every kind of sexual deviation as normal and worth experiencing.
The Media Would Have Us Believe that Love Justifies all Behavior–and that It Should Be Accepted
To demonstrate just how successful the Media-promoted Gay/Lesbian movement has been, we need only look at society today and compare it with the proposals contained in the ‘Gay Bill of Rights’ legislation which was introduced in the House of Representatives on January 3, 1985. In that bill, the LGBT agenda was clearly stated to include…
the legalization of homosexuality and lesbianism;
the criminal prosecution of all churches, schools and businesses for refusing to hire homosexuals;
the criminal prosecution of an individual who refuses housing accommodations to homosexual/lesbian couples;
the legitimization of marriage between homosexual/lesbian couples, as well as their adoption of children; and
the requirement that all public schools create sex education courses taught by homosexuals in order to show their lifestyle as a moral, healthy, and normal alternative to heterosexuality.
With each item on this wish list now having been checked off, what we’re left with is a society in a state of confusion because its citizens have lost their sexual bearings. Young children in school no longer know whether they should go into the boys’ or girls’ restrooms, while older ones are in a quandary as they try to decide which sex they should be. Of course, this state of Androgyny, where people…
–are both male and female; hermaphroditic;
–have both masculine and feminine characteristics;
–have an ambiguous sexual identity; and,
–are neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance…
… has been Satan’s goal all along. That’s because, once people have lost their sexual identity, the last vestiges of God’s Image will have been removed, and they will be prepared to worship the hermaphroditic image of the Antichrist when he makes his appearance.
Satan’s Plan from the Beginning
The final question that we need to answer, then, is this: why would the owners of these MassMediaConglomerates use their messages to help create a society in which its citizens…
are in debt up to their eyeballs, relentlessly chasing unattainable images and lifestyles–like gerbils on a wheel;
have been narcotized by mindless “entertainment” while being left ill-informed about what is actually happening in the world; and,
are so confused about their sexual identity that they are willing to try anything, no matter how outrageous it is, in an attempt to figure out who they are?
It’s because the heads of these organizations are members of the groups we learned about when we surveyed the Earth’s Physical and Financial Landscapes—groups that are dedicated to the creation of a One World Government (which the Bible predicts will happen)—a government with…
One international identity, and one set of universal values;
Centralized control of the people in a society with no middle class, only rulers and servants;
A zero-growth policy designed to eliminate prosperity and facilitate the repression needed to keep society divided;
A state of perpetual imbalance that will keep people physically, mentally, and emotionally confused and exhausted;
Centralized control of education, enabling them to erase and rewrite the history that is taught to students;
Centralized control of all foreign and domestic policies;
Empowerment of the United Nations as the world’s government;
An American Union, a trading bloc similar to the European Union;
Expansion of NATO—with NATO becoming the UN’s world army;
One legal system; and,
One socialist welfare state, where those who cooperate will be rewarded and those who don’t will be eliminated.
As for the Media’s role in all of this, it has been their job to distract us from what is really going on, and to con us, confuse us, and condition us for the coming new regime. In remarks made at the 1991 Bilderberger meeting, David Rockefeller praised the Media for their part in the advancement of the globalist agenda…
We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times,Time magazine and other great publications, whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years…
It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto determination practice in past centuries.
The elite in this case—those who anticipate being the head and not the tail in this coming world government—would be the Media, as well as the members of the other globalist groups, who are helping to usher in the earthly kingdom over which Satan will one day rule. Of course, anyone who is familiar with the book of Revelation knows that for those who are responsible for the promotion of Satan’s Image on the earth, the story does not end well at all!
Phillips Craig & Dean remind of our responsibility to be the image of God to our children…
The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him (John 8:44).
In our last exercise, we learned how important it is to understand the nature of thespiritual conflict in which we, as the Sons and Daughters of God, are engaged. As we shall learn in this exercise, it is equally important for us to discover as much as we can about our adversary—that is, if we want to stay alert and guard against his assaults. For…
…unless we grasp how the devil fits into God’s scheme of things, we will find it more difficult to stand against his conspiracy against us personally and his influence within our culture. How we perceive our enemy will largely determine how we fight against him.
Over the course of the past six exercises in our Workout Program, we have learned a lot about this adversary–the one who goes by the names of Satan, Lucifer, and the Devil—so let’s collect that information here and review what we have learned about him thus far.
His History and Character
As for his history and character, we now know that Satan…
Was a created being, making him vastly inferior to the God who created him, and meaning that…
Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from the Creator. He may vainly propose to become independent, and even be permitted for a time to act under that delusion; but that only delays the inevitable judgment that awaits him.
Was created perfect…
…or was the perfect fulfillment of the Creator’s intention. Satan was a free moral agent, capable of choosing evil but not obligated to do so. That he chose evil must ever be to his own condemnation, for the Creator had surrounded him with sufficient motives for choosing the good.
Was created as one of the highest ranking in a class of Spirit Beings called Angels…
…powerful creatures who have a significant role to play in God’s unfolding plan for mankind; and who… …were present at pivotal points in the spiritual history of man, including the creation of the universe, the proclamation of the birth of Jesus and will return with Christ’s heavenly army to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
Possessed a superior intellect and surpassing beauty…
First, consider God’s statement [in Ezekiel 28:12] ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.’ For the God of the universe to declare that another is perfect in wisdom is remarkable. Satan must have incredible intellectual powers; repeatedly the Bible stresses his brilliance. His beauty and majesty also must be unimaginable.
Became vain because of his beauty, proud because of his wisdom, and power-hungry because of his position. He conceitedly regarded these things as emanating from within himself, instead of acknowledging them as endowments from God—gifts given to him by the good pleasure of the Almighty, for the benefit of the Kingdom of Heaven…
Lucifer was God’s masterpiece, a showpiece whose presence brought glory to his creator… [And] until he sinned, he existed to serve God, without weariness, struggle, or competition. He was God’s worship leader; the director of choirs and coordinator of praise. If only he had known how fortunate he was!
Rebelled against God’s authority and attempted to usurp that authority for himself…
… instead of passing all of the praise to God, he began to keep some of it for himself. Like a trader who keeps a bit of the profits that cross his desk, so Lucifer would hold back some of the worship, enjoying what he thought was his share…
…[Until] consumed with jealousy and burning with a desire for recognition, he set out to do what he wanted to do rather than what God wanted him to do.
Began his career as a liar and a slanderer of God in order to justify his misguided and failed actions…
Satan apparently concluded that he was so magnificent he didn’t need God. Like the first humans, he probably felt he could be his own God.
Once Satan enthroned himself and rejected God’s moral guidance, a whole series of negative character traits automatically developed. Any moral being who rejects God’s leadership finds it psychologically necessary to justify that decision…[Thus] Satan justified his rebellion by finding fault with God.
When Satan rebelled, he became the supreme accuser of God’s character.
Became a murderer when he provoked Cain to kill his brother, Abel, in an effort to eliminate the righteous son of Adam and Eve—the one he thought might be the redeemer promised to Eve by God…
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts (Hebrews 11:4).
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you (Ezekiel 28:15).
His Ambitious Plan
in addition to his History and Character, we also know that…
Lucifer’s original plan—his Plan A—called for his overthrow of God and the take-over of His Throne in Heaven; this in spite of the fact that God was and is All-Powerful, and his own power was severely limited in comparison. But…
Far from withdrawing, Satan chose to escalate the conflict. Admitting defeat was too humbling; better to forge ahead with sustained rebellion than withdraw from the fray and accept his punishment. He would pretend that illusion is reality; he would call his defeats triumphs. And he would store up more retribution by expanding his rebellious rule.
This, of course, led to the creation of his Plan B, which called for him to set up his kingdom and reign upon the Earth…
Pride caused Lucifer to gamble his privileges away. He took the big risk, thinking that if he could not dethrone God, at least he could set up his own throne somewhere in the universe. He had underestimated God and overestimated himself.
This presented him with another problem, though—God had given the Earth to Man to rule, so what was he to do about that?
When the devil noticed that a new being existed, created in the image and likeness of God, destined to have the lordship over creation, he developed his own plan and wanted to destroy God’s work. Satan’s attack consisted in tempting Adam and Eve with exactly the same iniquity that constituted his own ruin. Lucifer himself had wanted to be like God. That was what he offered Eve, saying, ‘You will not surely die…’
His Overall Strategy
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:27-28)…
…so that, in bearing God’s image to the ends of the earth…
…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea… (Habakkuk 2:14)
…for Satan to achieve his Plan B and realize his ultimate goal, his strategy had to include…
Gaining control of the Earth by taking God’s Representatives and intended Family captive through deception and lies. Lying about who he was, who they were, and who God is, Satan convinced Eve, then Adam, to disobey God. As a result…
Adam dropped the scepter and Satan picked it up. Man, created to be king of the earth, would now become a slave and be everywhere in chains… In Eden, the crown slid from man’s head, Satan picked it up from the dust and crowned himself…He would now treat the world as if it belonged to him.
Preventing God’s Kingdom from coming to the Earth; keeping his captives from escaping to freedom by blinding them to the Truth of God, and keeping them ignorant of His Word and His free gift of Salvation…
By their disobedience, Adam and Eve abdicated their throne of earthly dominion, yielding it to Satan, the architect and instigator of their fall. This ushered in a counterfeit kingdom that the Bible calls the ‘kingdom of darkness,’ which is in constant conflict with the Kingdom of God…
Satan rules his kingdom of darkness by keeping his ‘subjects’ in ignorance of the true nature of their environment and of the existence of God’s Kingdom. He fills their heads with lies and deception. Satan controls his subjects by keeping them ‘in the dark’ regarding spiritual truth. He blinds their eyes lest they understand the glorious good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Enemy of the Truth
Harassing, intimidating, slandering, and deceiving them at every possible turn—and, should any of them manage to escape…
Satan sees our down times as his opportunities. True to his nature, he strikes with vile determination when we are weakest… Satan is relentless in his attacks because he utterly hates us. He desires our complete destruction. There is no goodness in him at all. He is absolutely void of virtue and compassion. This is his nature and he is not going to change.
Frustrating the Service of those who manage to make it to the Kingdom of God by stirring up division and strife among them, and wearing them down until they finally give up and quit…
Satan is unable to destroy Christians, so his ultimate goal is to make us ineffective in our mission. Whether he can destroy faith or stalemate us in other ways, his point is to block Christians’ efforts to rescue those currently under his control…he wants to guard his captives from the power of the gospel. Satan can convince most Christians never even to try to advance God’s cause on earth. Others do try, but he can frustrate their plans or redirect them into fruitless projects…
He can divide believers or get them to pursue foolish, doomed-to-failure tactics. And he has been remarkably successful getting believers to preach a message so alien to the gospel that no one could meet Christ through their message.
Corrupting all the institutions which affect their lives—especially the Family—and distorting the Image of God on the Earth through Sexual Perversion and Gender Confusion…
…when man chose to renounce the will of God…the knowledge of good and evil made its entrance. Man now had a knowledge that corrupted him, poisoned him…now humanity carries in itself the seed of evil that it transmits from generation to generation.
In the moment in which the devil enters into a place of authority over man and creation, the polluted and corrupt world becomes his vehicle of expression, a system designed to keep humanity in slavery. The Bible teaches us that since then, the world serves the devil’s purposes.
His Defeat and its Impact on the War
From his victory over the First Adam to the coming of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, Satan treated “the world as if it belonged to him.” After all, he had wrested the lordship over the Earth from Adam and Eve, and now that they were his slaves, there wasn’t anything that they or their descendants could do about it. That is, until Jesus came, and then it became an altogether different story…
…Jesus came as a human being, living in our post-Fall human context ‘for a little while lower than the angels’ (Hebrews 2:7). As a man He retraced Adam’s footprints up to the point of temptation, facing temptation after temptation and succeeding in obedience where Adam had failed.
Jesus’ obedience, then, took Him even to the cross, and through that to the empty tomb. Thus He won the battle over Satan from behind enemy lines—won it as a man for both humans and God. When the Father resurrected Jesus, a cosmic battle was won, and the usurper defeated and deposed from second place in the universe.
As a result of His Victory, this Second Adam reclaimed what the First Adam had lost, and restored it to those who would come to the Father through Faith in His Finished Work on the Cross. In spite of his loss, though, Satan isn’t about to roll over and play dead…
…like Nazi Germany even after D-Day, Satan still has plenty of fight left…Knowing he has been defeated doesn’t bring melancholy to Satan; it makes him furious. Seeing his end draw near makes Satan even more frantic to destroy. In the psychology of hatred, rage becomes irrational, and Satan apparently has become angrier than ever. But his strategy is far from irrational. He continues, in calculated and effective ways, to pursue his course of opposition to God’s plans.
His Kingdom: Past, Present, and Future
From the Garden to the Cross—
Satan ruled over the Earth with impunity. Having already robbed Man of his innocence in the Garden, he was now free, from the Garden to the Cross, to successfully…
Sear men’s consciences through sin—leading to the destruction of the then-known world through the Flood; Corrupt the governmental system ordained by God—leading to the rebellion at the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages; Introduce a false religious system into the world—which, once the nations were scattered, made its way into every culture in the world; and, Compromise the worship of the people of God—ultimately leading to their expulsion from the land God had chosen for them.
At this point, given mankind’s colossal failures and his many successes, it must have seemed to Satan that his rule over the Earth had at last been firmly established. This, however, would soon be proven to be a false assumption. That’s because, in spite of Satan’s best efforts to destroy God’s plan and His people, the Lord has never left Himself without a faithful remnant. As prophesied by Isaiah…
…the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward… (Isaiah 37:31)
And, it would be through this remnant that the long-awaited Redeemer would finally come…
…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, toredeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
From the Cross to the Second Coming of Christ—
Although Christ soundly defeated Satan on the Cross, and conquered his power over death through His Resurrection, for reasons that are His own, God continues to allow Satan to rule—albeit as a Usurper—over the ungodly systems he has managed to establish during mankind’s time on the Earth. As we learned previously…
God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming. Otherwise, there would be no more warfare of any kind. We are in apprenticeship for our place with Christ on the throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb…and without an adversary there could be no practice in overcoming.
…Satan exists as God’s instrument of justice for the disobedient and God’s means of purification for the obedient. Our war with him teaches us about the nature of sin, the holiness of God, and our own helplessness apart from Grace.
So, until Christ returns to set up His Kingdom here on Earth, Satan…
Though under the restraining hand of God…is now in authority over the unregenerate world, and the unsaved are unconsciously organized and federated under his leading…
This federation includes all of the unsaved and fallen humanity; it has the cooperation of the fallen spirits, and is the union of all who are living and acting in independence of God.
This satanic system has its own ideals and principles which are in sharp contrast to the ideals and principles given to the redeemed, yet these two classes must mingle together as closely as the ties of human life can bring them.
Jesus made mention of these two conflicting classes in His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, characterizing the wheat as those in the Kingdom of God, and the tares as those in Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness. Since His instructions at that time were to…
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’ (Matthew 13:30)…
…such will be the status of Satan’s kingdom until the time for God’s Harvest.
His Time Is Coming
From the Second Coming of Christ to the End of the Age—
When the time finally comes for the legal owner of the Earth to harvest the crops sown in it from the beginning of time—that is, when everyone who is going to be saved is saved, and Satan’s attempts at ruling the world apart from God have utterly failed, Christ will return to the Earth to execute judgment on Satan and his kingdom…
God’s judgment is often long in coming, but when it arrives it is swift and sure. When God begins to wrap up human history as we know it, the demise of the Serpent will happen in a series of stages. The lake of fire was inevitable from the moment Lucifer said, ‘I will make myself like the Most high’ (Isaiah 14:14), but for centuries God has postponed the inevitable. When He no longer needs Satan for His own purposes, the end shall come.
The three stages of Satan’s judgment are as follows…
First, he is cast out of heaven. Second, he is bound for a thousand years. Finally, he is cast into the lake of fire.
If the first step in Satan’s demise is that he is forbidden to reside in heaven, then the second step is that he is forbidden to reside on earth. For one thousand years the nations are permitted to go their own way without satanic direction or influence.
[Then] He who had always taken his own hell with him… [is] to be cast into a hell of a different sort. He must now relinquish control of all beings he ever influenced. The power is gone, so is the insolence, scheming, and defiance. Stripped of everything he once thought he had, he [the former Light Bearer] is now forced to abide in eternal darkness.
‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15)’…
The destruction of the Serpent in the lake of fire stands as a final witness to the fact that no creature who fights again the Creator will win. No will pitted against the will of God will ever find permanent fulfillment and freedom. God has proved that he alone rules, and beside Him there is no other.
Be sure to join us for ournext exercise, when we will begin creating a map of Satan’s territory.
In spite of Satan’s claims to the contrary, there is only one I AM–and it’s certainly not him!
 Erwin W. Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1996),20.
 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Satan: His Motive and Methods (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), 17.
Although I now use the English Standard Version as my study Bible, when I first started out, oh so many years ago, I used the King James Version—a translation that I loved because of the more melodic and poetic language it used in its presentation of the Bible Story. The one aspect of that translation that I did not care for, though, was its use of the word “begat” in the many genealogies recorded for us in scripture. “Begat” always sounded so harsh and impersonal that its use made those already tedious and uninteresting passages all the more difficult to get into and to appreciate. And yet, when I was finally able to get past the archaic wording, as well as all of the repetitious and somewhat sanitized documentation contained in the passages, I found that there was a lot of truth waiting to be discovered there among all of those old “begats.” And, searching for some of those truths is what we will be attempting to do next, as we pause to critique the first such list in the Bible—the one which was presented in our most recent Vignette, “The Lineup to the Flood.”
This Vignette, number five of the nine which make up Act 1, Scene 1 of God’s One Big Story, covers the material found in Genesis 5; a chapter which introduced us to the descendants of Adam though his son, Seth. It should be noted here that Cain’s descendants, as the rejected line, were introduced back in Vignette #4and, following their brief moment in the spotlight, they moved to their proper place at the rear of the stage. Now, as for how we will conduct our search for truth in Seth’s line of begats, it will be done by analyzing the People, Patterns, and Precedents that were presented to us in the course of this Vignette.
An important thing for us to remember, when coming to this first genealogical list in the Bible,is that all of these funny sounding and sometimes hard to pronounce names belonged to real people, living in real time, and doing life in very real ways. They were people who had to work for a living, who had to find and make homes for themselves and their families, who had to learn to relate to the other people around them—however difficult they may have been, and who had to learn to cope with the raising of children—many, many children, in fact. Because they were all descended from Adam, this meant that they were all members of the same family—with everyone, at any given time, having to fill the roles of mother or father, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, or grandparent or grandchild to someone else. What a relationship nightmare that must have been!
However, there was more to being a descendant of Adam than merely belonging to the same huge physical family; it also meant being members of the same huge spiritual family. Since each one had come into the world bearing the image and likeness of Adam, this meant that they, like he, were all sinners in desperate need of redemption. Even though not all of them would go on to acknowledge this need in their lives, the ten that did were lined up across our stage—with one representing each of the ten generations from Adam to Noah. As the men who held on to their faith in God, and to the promise He had made to Eve concerning a coming Redeemer, they, as the members of the Antediluvian Spiritual Hall of Fame, were the ones who kept the promise and the lineage of that Redeemer alive all the way to and through the Flood. Of these ten, there are four—Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah–who merit special recognition; something which we will be sure to give them when we get to the Precedents section of this critique.
The Antediluvian Hall of Fame
But for now, let’s take a step back and try to get a look at the big picture presented to us by the men in this genealogy. For, in so doing, we will see some Patterns starting to develop, as a result of the sin nature passed down by Adam, which will characterize the human experience from this point on. They are…
Life becomes a tedious and monotonous cycle of birth, reproduction, and death;
As this cycle repeats itself and as more and more people are born into the world, the level of wickedness increases dramatically while righteousness decreases in a corresponding manner;
This decrease in righteousness leads to a diminishing of the hope that God’s promise of a Redeemer will ever be fulfilled which, in turn, leads to an ever increasing sense of despair among the people of God;
But, even in the face of this all of this wickedness and despair, God repeatedly proves His faithfulness by His on-going preservation of a remnant through whom the Redeemer will one day come.
As for the precedents that were established during this pre-flood period in history, if we look at the unusual way in which this chapter opens, and at the unique characteristics of the men previously singled out for special recognition, we will find these Precedents to include…
1. The Precedent of The Book of the Righteous…
When Chapter 5 opens, it does so by saying, “This is the book of the generations of Adam”—a statement marking out a whole new section in the book of Genesis. We know that it is the beginning of something new because toledoth, the Hebrew word for generations, is used eleven times in Genesis, and each of those times it is used to designate a break or a transition in the story. But, while a break in the story is significant, it isn’t unusual enough to qualify as a precedent-setting event. For that, we need to direct our attention to sepher, the Hebrew word for book, because its use here marks the first time that a record of human history is made, and that God begins recording a list of the righteous.
First Mention of the Book of Life
This list of names will become a special set of books, later referred to as The Book of Life,which, when human history comes to an end, will be brought out for all to see. Its ultimate revealing will take place at an event called the Great White Throne Judgment; the climactic end-time event described in Revelation 20 where, in verses 12 and 15, theApostle John describes how these books will be used…
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which was the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done…And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
From this, we can conclude that the name of every human being who has ever lived will be written in one set of books, The Book of the Living, along with everything he or she has ever done. In addition to these, there is another set of books, referred to here and in other places as “The Lamb’s Book of Life,” which contains the names of all of those who, through faith, have trusted in God for their salvation. While everyone’s name will be listed in the first set of books, only the names of those who are deemed righteous according to God’s standards will appear in the second set of books—books which had their origins here in Genesis 5.
2. The Precedent of The Practice of Prayer…
From what we can gather about Adam’s and Eve’s, and Cain’s and Abel’s encounters with God, they appeared to have taken place on a personal and very intimate level. However, with the appearance of Seth, and at about the time that his son, Enosh, was born, a new and different shift in the way men approached God seems to have taken place. This change is noted for us in Genesis 4:25-26, where it says that…
…Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born,and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.
The Precedent of Prayer Established
Although this passage tells us that men, for the first time, began to call upon God in prayer, it doesn’t explain why this practice became necessary. Was it because, as more and more people were born, worship became less of an individual practice and more of a corporate one? Or, was it because God, in response to the ever-increasing level of wickedness upon the earth, had withdrawn His presence from among the people? Whatever the reason, here in the lifetime of righteous Seth, the practice of prayer had become a necessity and became an established precedent in the lives of godly men.
3. The Precedent of Preaching and Prophesying…
Because the population and the level of wickedness began increasing at such an alarming rate, it wasn’t long before the preaching of repentance and the prophesying about a coming judgment became a necessity. And, as we learn in Jude 14, 15, 16, 19, this was something that Enoch undertook with great zeal…
It was also about these [the wicked] that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” …These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage…It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
The Precedent of Preaching Established
Although there may have been others who had seen the need for this type of ministry and practiced it before the time of Enoch, it was during his lifetime and as a result of his ministry that the preaching of repentance and the prophesying about judgment became, for us, a Biblically-documented Precedent.
4. The Precedent of The Translation or Rapture of the Saints…
Not only was the Precedent of Preaching and Prophesying established in the life and ministry of Enoch, thePrecedent of a Translation or Rapture of the Righteous was also established by him. For in Genesis 5:24 we are told that…
…Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him…
…and in Hebrews 11:5, that…
…By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
The Precedent of the Rapture Established
Although another translation from this life to the next, without experiencing death, was realized centuries later by the prophet Elijah, the ultimate fulfillment of the precedent set by Enoch is still to take place at the end of time when, just before the onslaught of an event known as The Tribulation, a global translation or Rapture of the Saints from the earth will take place. Just as Enoch was removed from the early world prior to the Tribulation of the Flood, those who are alive and whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, at the end of time, will also be “taken up” because they, like Enoch, had obtained the witness that they walked with and were pleasing to God.
5. The Precedent of God’s Long-suffering and Mercy…
In Genesis 5: 21-24, we learn that…
…When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah, Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
And, then, in Genesis 5:27 that…
…all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.
The implication in the first passage is that before his son’s birth, Enoch had gone his own way, but that following Methuselah’s birth, he began developing a close, personal walk with God. This, to me, begs the question of “Why the big change all of a sudden?”
Although the meaning of Methuselah’s namehas not been completely settled for some, many believe that it means, “When he is gone, it will come”—with “it” referring to the judgment of the flood about which Enoch would later prophesy. If so, it could be that Enoch had received a revelation about the coming judgment at the time of Methuselah’s birth;and, if he had, it would only be logical for him to believe that he might only have a short period of time in which to repent. What if his son only lived a year or five years? Not knowing how long a life his son would have would certainly have been reason enough for getting his life right with God as soon as possible—and to begin preaching to others about their need to do the same.
Could it be that Methuselah lived longer than other human because God, in His mercy, was trying to give men every opportunity to repent, like Enochdid? It would certainly seem so, for as the second passage tells us, not only did God extend Methuselah’s life longer than any other human being’s, but that the year he died was the same year that the floodcame upon the earth.
6. The Precedent of The Preservation of a Remnant through Tribulation and Judgment…
The Remnant in the Ark
By the time Methuselah’s son Lamech had a son of his own, things must have seemed pretty dismal because, when he named his name Noah, he spoke this prophecy over him, recorded for us in Genesis 5:29…
… ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.’”
We shall see the fulfillment of this prophecy in our upcoming Vignette, for it will be through Noah that God will…
Reach out to the lost in his generation;
Bring the judgment of the Flood upon all of those who refuse to repent; and,
Faithfully protect and provide for His own, through the Precedent of the Preservation of a Remnant through Tribulation and Judgment.
As you can see, there is a lot more truth in this First Book of Begats than initially meets the eye; and, since…
…All Scriptureis breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…(2 Timothy 3:16)…
…it is still relevant and has application for our lives today. That’s because, like those living between Adam and Noah…
We are all sinners whose natural end is death and eternal separation from God;
However, we can choose life instead of death by choosing to follow in the way of Seth instead of in the way of Cain;
This choice will always put us at odds with the majority who will be following Cain and the ways of the world;
But it will also mean that our names will be written in the Book of Life;
This will give us access to God through prayer;
It will motivate us to reach out to the lost through our testimony of the truth; and,
It will provide us the assurance that God will either take us out before, or preserve us through, any kind of tribulation or judgment that may come upon the wicked.
Selah reminds us that throughout every age, God remains the “Faithful One…”
Now that we have completed our critique of the story of Cain and Abel, it is time for us to move on to the next Vignette, or mini-story, in our presentation of “God’s One Big Story.” In order to put things into perspective, and as a benefit to those who may be new to our group, I think it is a good idea to do a brief recap of our story so far.
Here at His Truth, My Voice, we are currently undertaking a guided tour of the Bible, a tour which we have been referring to as “TheJourney into the Land of Revelation Knowledge.” We have named it this because, in going deeper into the Word of God, we will be traveling to places where the priceless revelations of who God is, who we are, and the parts we are to play in His wonderful Love Story of Redemption will be made known to us.
In order to aid us in our understanding of this Story, it is being presented to us in the form of a Play, consisting of Two Acts, each containing Six Scenes, which are separated by one long Intermission. The Scenes and Intermission are being acted out on a series of Fourteen Stages and, at present, we are at Stage #1 where Vignette #5 of Act 1, Scene 1 is about to get underway.
In Scene 1, we have been introduced to God in His role as “The Celestial Suitor”—the Supreme Being whose ultimate goal is to have a spiritual family to love for all eternity. Since a family is naturally made up of a Husband and a Wife who have children, in this scene (covering the first eleven chapters of Genesis), God will create the world of nations, from which He will choose one—Israel—to be His Wife. It will be through His relationship with her that His Sonwill eventually be born into the world; and, it will be through His Son that God will one day obtain the family He has always desired. Thus far, this is what God has done toward the realization of His goal:
In Vignette #2/ Genesis 2…He created Man and Woman to bear His image on the earth, and to multiply and fill the earth with that image of His glory. He also made them overseers of His creation, and charged them not to do one thing—eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
In Vignette #3/ Genesis 3…He allowed a malevolent spirit named Satan, who appeared in the form of a serpent, to test the first couple’s obedience to His will. In the serpent’s temptation, Adam and Even were presented with the only two real options in life—either to do things God’s way and live, or to go their own way and die. When Adam and Eve chose the latter, sin, disease, and death passed upon them and all of their descendants. But, when their sin resulted in their separation from God, He graciously showed them that their relationship with Him could be restored if their sins were atoned for through the blood sacrifice of an innocent substitute.
In Vignette #4/ Genesis 4…When the time came for Adam and Eve’s sons to offer their own sacrifices to God, on one such occasion, Abel’s offering was accepted while Cain’s was rejected. This made Cain so angry that he murdered his brother. Then, when he refused to acknowledge and repent of this sin, God’s judgment led him to separate himself from God, and enter into a life of wandering. God later provided Adam and Eve with another son, Seth, to take Abel’s place; and with his arrival, we see a division of humanity into two distinct groups beginning to take place—with Cain heading up the line of the wicked, and Seth at the head of those in the righteous line. At the end of this Vignette/Chapter, and in keeping with the scriptural practice of identifying the members of the rejected line first, we were given the genealogy of Cain—an incorrigible line that would ultimately succeed in corrupting society, and one which would eventually end in the Flood.
This brings us up to date in our Story, and to Vignette #5, which covers the material contained in Chapter 5 of Genesis. While there are many who would consider this to be one of the most boring chapters in the Bible, I hope to show you that there are some important things to be gleaned from its rather repetitious presentation of information.
With that being said, the time has come for the next installment of our Story to begin—and for the lights in the theatre to dim and the curtains to part once more. As they do, we find ourselves looking upon a Stage that is pretty much in the same state as when Vignette #4ended. The major difference is that Cain and his line of descendants have moved from the front of the stage to the back, forming a line across the rear of the stage. The spotlight, which was previously on our right, has moved to our left, and is once more focusing on Adam, as we hear our off-stage Narrator begin his recitation with…
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image and named him Seth.
At this, we see Seth walk across the stage and stand next to his father. As the spotlight moves to highlight him, we hear the Narrator speak again, saying…
The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
This scene is then repeated five more times, with only the names and years being changed, and with our Narrator continuing in his very formulaic fashion…
When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.
When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 days, and he died.
When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.
When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.
When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.
Up to this point, everything has been going along monotonously well, but it is here—at the seventh generation from Adam—that we find something unusual taking place. Our Narrator explains this, using the most economical description possible, by saying…
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
In other words, unlike his predecessors, Enoch did not die but was translated out of his earthly realm of existence and into the heavenly realm of existence with God! Then, without offering us any more to go on, and just as though this revelation was of little or no consequence, our Narrator once again resumes his narration with…
When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.
But, just as he seems to be falling back into the same droning pattern of…
When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah…
…and the spotlight comes to rest on Lamech, we are surprised to hear a sudden outburst from him, as he makes this prophetic statement about his son…
…Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands…
…after which, our Narrator continues, as before, with…
Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.
After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The Righteous Lineup
And, with the line of the righteous stretched out on the stage before us, Genesis 5 or Vignette #5 abruptly comes to a halt. The curtains close and the lights in the theatre come up again–and, we are provided with yet another pause in our production for the purpose of critiquing what has just taken place in the presentation. Although it is tempting for us to think that there is nothing worth critiquing in this very abbreviated episode, there is quite a lot that has been revealed here that will need to be discussed. So let’s take a moment and change once more out of our Theatre Patrons’ Hats and into our Theatre Critics’ Hats, and get ourselves ready to analyze the People, the Patterns, and the Precedents being established in this one, seemingly uneventful, passage of Scripture.
As Steve Green reminds us, let’s pray that when our lives are recorded in God’s lineup of the Righteous, may all who come behind us find us faithful…
When we last saw Adam and Eve—at the end of Vignette #3of God’s One Big Story—they were being evicted from their Garden home for violating God’s one and only condition in their lease agreement, which was to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree was one of two special ones located in the middle of the Garden and, by partaking of its fruit, they became guilty of disobeying God, and became sinners with a firsthand knowledge of Evil. This, of course, meant that they could no longer stay in the Garden, where they would have continued access to the other tree at the Garden’s center, the Tree of Life; for, if they had eaten of the Tree of Life then, they would have lived forever in their fallen states, and would have never known the joy of becoming a redeemed Child of God.
Cain and Abel in Happier Days
The curtains here at Stage #1 are preparing to open again on what will be Vignette #4 of our Story and, as they do, we hear the voice of our off-stage Narrator bringing us up to date on what has happened since that sad and fateful moment when Adam and Eve were thrust out of their first home—the place where they had only known the Good that life had to offer. He lets us know that a lot has changed, and that a considerable amount of time has gone by, when he tells us that…
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.’ And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. (Gen. 4:1-2)
Cain and Abel at Work
It is at this point that the Stage comes fully into view and, while Adam and Eve are nowhere to be found, we see before us two young men in the foreground: the one on our left is Cain, who is tending to his crops; and, the one on our right is Abel, who is tending to his flocks. Behind them is a field, and beyond that, at the back of the Stage, there is the Angel with the flaming Sword who is still guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Close to this entrance, there is also a pile of stones stacked neatly in the form of an altar—which, from the looks of it, has been used a number of times in the past.
As we continue looking at the Stage, our characters continue going about their work, even as the lights are dimmed and then relit six times—simulating the passage of six days and nights. At the end of what would be the sixth day, however, their day-in, day-out routine is interrupted when Cain gathers up a portion of his crops, Abel selects what appears to be the very best—the firstborn—lamb of his flock, and they both head toward the altar at the back of the Stage—the place where they plan to meet with and to worship God, as they offer up to Him their sacrifices.
Cain and Abel at Worship
When they arrive there, the first thing they do is check to make sure the stones of the altar are clean and that none of them are loose; and then, after going out and gathering up sticks, they proceed to light the fire for the altar. Once they have it burning, Cain wastes no time in putting his offering on the altar—an offering which is very quickly consumed by the flames, and one which leaves behind no particularly fragrant odor to enjoy. Abel’s offering, on the other hand, takes a good deal longer to prepare. First, he inspects the lamb to make sure that it is unblemished in every way. Next, he kills the lamb and cuts its body into pieces, draining the blood from it as he does. Finally, he places the pieces on the altar—being sure to include the choicest pieces of fat—and then pours the blood out on the ground at the base of the altar. He, now completely covered with the lamb’s blood, stands back, watching as the flames consume his offering, and as its sweet-smelling aroma wafts its way to heaven.
Almost immediately, the Lord lets the brothers know that the sacrifice that Abel made has been found to be acceptable, while the offering made to Him by Cain has been rejected. When this happens, Cain becomes so obviously angry that it prompts God to question him in the following manner…
God: Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Gen. 4:6-7)
Cain and Abel at War
Sadly, it appears that Cain has taken no heed of God’s warning for, as he and Abel are returning from the altar, he begins arguing with his brother. Although we cannot hear what is being said, we can see that the argument is escalating very quickly—so much so that, by the time they reach the field, Cain has picked up a rock and has begun hitting Abel in the head with it. After a couple of well-placed blows, Abel’s lifeless body collapses on the ground. Upon seeing his brother lying there motionless, Cain, seemingly in a state of panic, rushes back to the front of the Stage. If he had hoped that, in distancing himself from the scene of the crime, he would be able to claim his innocence, he was very quickly and sadly mistaken; for, no sooner than he had arrived, he found that God was there to meet him for the following confrontation:
God: Where is Abel your brother?
Cain: I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?
God: What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.
Cain: My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from you face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.
God: Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.
At that, we see God placing a mark of some kind on Cain’s forehead—a mark designed to keep any avenger of his brother’s blood (possibly one of their other brothers) at bay. Once that is done, we watch as Cain calls his wife, gathers up his belongings, and heads off into the distance—to a land east of Eden called Nod. As he leaves, and as the lights dim on him and his wife, our Narrator offers us some insights into what Cain’s future holds, as he tells us that…
Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. [And] When he [Cain] built a city he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. (Gen. 4:17)
Although we are not told so, we are left to imagine that, in his building of a city, Cain was trying to provide himself with a fortification where he would be safe from anyone seeking vengeance upon him. We are also not told how he would be making a living, given that his former occupation was no longer a viable option for him. But, we can wager a guess that, as a result of lives lived apart from God, the end that he and his descendants would eventually come to would not be a good one. We are given an indication of this as several men and a few women line up on the Stage before us—and, as our Narrator announces that…
To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
As our Narrator announces the name of each of Cain’s descendants, a spotlight shines on each one briefly, before moving on to the man in the next generation. However, when the light shines on the last man, Lamech, we are surprised by his sudden and arrogant outburst to his wives…
Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-seven fold. (Gen. 4:23-24)
If Vignette #4 were to end here, it would be a very sad ending indeed. But, we are given renewed hope when our Narrator once again interjects…
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.’ To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. [And] At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord. (Gen. 4:25-26)
Praise God, all is not lost!
Join the Gaithers in “There is Power in the Blood”…
When our last meeting ended, we were left waiting—imagine a drum roll here—poised for the drama of the ages that was about to unfold before us. Today, this is how we find the stage set before us: the first Man and Womanhave been created, they are living in a garden paradise which has been prepared especially for them, in an idyllic state of innocence, and they have been entrusted with a specific word of instruction from God concerning the tree that was growing in the center of their garden.
Adam and Eve in the Garden
As we learned last time, Man was created for the express purpose of becoming a Son–a Child of God–however, before that could happen, he would have to be found righteous, or holy, just like God His Father. Of course, that means that before Man could attain righteousness in the eyes of God, he would have to be testedand maintain his innocence during that testing. In so doing, he would demonstrate that he could be trusted with the awesome responsibilities of Sonship, the chief of which is the carrying out the God’s Willon the earth. And by trusting the God’s Word enough to obey it, he would prove that he was responsible enough to exercise that Word to overcome any future temptation presented to him by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Let’s pause and consider the real situation here. For the first Man and Woman, there were no parents, grandparents, in-laws, children, bosses, or co-workers; no government authorities, bureaucracies, taxes, traffic jams, or irritating friends or nosy neighbors to deal with or to blame. They were living in ideal circumstances—in perfect health, the perfect home, the perfect neighborhood, and working at the perfect job—they wanted for nothing. And best of all, they were living in the very presence of God, meeting and conversing with Him daily—Wow, what a treat that must have been! Every physical, emotional, and spiritual need was being met. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, hindering their relationship with God and with one another, until…
Face to Face with Tempter
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to bedesired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3: 1-7 (ESV)
At this point, all action ceases for the moment so that we can analyze what has just happened in these few but epic moments in human history. In case you missed it:
The Serpent (or as we are told in Revelation 20:2, “…that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan”) has come in the guise of a serpent and presented himself to the woman.
That is, the Tempterhas come masquerading as a creature from the lowest level of authority in an effort to entice the one in authority over him to disobey the Word of God in order overthrow God’s established authority structure.
He does this by causing her to…
– doubt God’s Word…“Has God said…?”
– question God’s goodness…God is withholding important information from you…
– accept a lie for the truth…“You will not die…”…, and
– believe that they could become gods themselves through their own efforts…“You will be like God…”.
In this brief interchange, the Tempter has launched a full-scale attack on the woman’s body, soul, and spirit,and she didn’t even see it coming. So…
…when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (body), and that it was a delight to the eyes (soul), and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (spirit), she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Please note the order here–the Animal goes to the Woman, the Womangoes to the Man, but the Mandoes not go to God. Instead, he ignores the Word of God and acts in response to the circumstances at hand, according to his own reasoning and desires. It’s at this moment…we hear the colossal cosmic cymbals crash!
For, in this moment, God’s established order has been turned upside down, Man’s spirit has died and with its death, sin, sickness, and physical death have gained entrance into the world. Manhas lost his opportunity for Sonship with God,enslaved himself and all of his descendants to sin and Satan, and his right to rule over the earth has now been usurped by Satan.
What a cosmic catastrophe! It is absolutely mind-boggling to think that the actions of just two people, living on such a small piece of real estate in some unidentified area of the world, could so radically alter their own destinies and the destinies of every single person who would ever live on this planet. And yet, that is exactly what happened; and all because two people who had everything doubted God’s Word, questioned God’s goodness, exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and believed—and tried unsuccessfully—to become God through their own works. Have you ever wondered if you were given the same set of circumstances, would you have done anything differently? Have you ever wondered how different things would be today if only they had obeyed the Word of God—or considered how different things might be for us if only we would obey the God’s Word?