Posts tagged “Scripture

Genesis 6:6-8, Erasing Creation while Disclosing the Meaning of Life

The LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. The LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground—man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky—for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7)

I understand that this is uncomfortable reading about God’s wrath extending to the animal kingdom, so let’s address that elephant in the room (see what I did there?). I might not alleviate that discomfort, but I will offer an explanation.

In your discomfort you may have noticed the several animal groupings (beasts, birds of the sky, creeping things) which are vertabim quotes from the creation account of Genesis 1.  I interpret this as an allegory to ‘erasing’ history, which is precisely how the verb em’cheh (“I will destroy”) is employed elsewhere in Scripture – denoting the blotting out of words from paper.

The allegories to Genesis 1 also invite us to review what went wrong. After all, this is sort of like God “rewinding” the creation script, is it not?  When we do, we read that we were charged to “bear fruit and increase. Fill the earth and conquer it, and subjugate the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves over the whole earth.” (Gen. 1:28)

May I suggest that we didn’t do ANY of this?  While it’s true we did start increasing in number (Gen. 6:1), we didn’t tame the animal kingdom – we instead subjugated each other.  We murdered, we ruled by force, we built harems and enslaved fellow men.   We did not expand outward, but inward, and this enabled animals to lose their instinct in fearing us (cf. Gen. 9:2).  The takeaway here is that the animal kingdom is at its best when man is at his best, but that’s not what occurred.  We let the earth become unable to be tamed, which stemmed from an abundance of wickedness.

The Heart of God

This bears repeating:  no other scripture offers such a deep glimpse into the Almighty.  No other verse dares to look into the heart of the One True God,  and I take this as an invitation to investigate.

First, I’d reiterate something I found earlier in Genesis 6:6, that the Divine Name (YHVH) and the verb yinachem (having the same root as the name of Noah/Noach) are together side-by-side, surrounded by depictions of chaotic hearts. Whether it be the evil imaginations of men’s hearts (vs. 5), or the grief inside the Almighty’s heart, I believe this is a deep, prophetic revelation showing that Noah wanted to flee wickedness as much as God craved fellowship among righteous men.  According to the rest of the story, this is exactly what happened.  God and Noah found each other, as demonstrated by the very next verse:

But Noah found favor in the eye of YHVH.  (Genesis 6:8)

And the impetus for this covenant stemmed from a simpatico distaste for the evils of mankind and a mutual search for righteous, holy fellowship:  “The LORD said to Noah, “Come with all of your household into the ship, for I have seen your righteousness before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)  We were created to live righteously that we might fellowship with the Holy One.  As a matter of fact, this is the meaning of life!

Frankly, I don’t believe God discloses secrets to just any scrub who decides to casually read the Bible.  It’s more His nature to reveal intimacies to those who are intimate with Him.  That’s why the grief inside God’s heart was fully disclosed as a WARNING.  When the grief was great enough, YHVH reached a tipping point and began to erase His creation.  This is provided as a prophecy.  Other Scriptures show that there will again be a time when lawlessness will abound in the earth (Matt. 24:12), and that YHVH will not preserve Mankind after they forsake the point of life:  to live righteously before the One True God and have fellowship with Him.

Finally, the last revelation from this – and another tie to the Creation story – is how men “grieved” YHVH in his heart.  The word for “grief” is et’sev,  which is from the same root word used after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden.  In both judgments of woman and man (in Gen. 3:16-17), God used “itzavon” to explain what life would be in a post-Paradise world.   I suggested then that itzavon should not be understood as physical pain (i.e. the pain of childbirth), but rather emotional stress or grief that comes with raising children all-day-every-day, or the sweat-of-your-face labor that just might feed your family and pay all the bills.

So we have stressful situations that qualify as itzavon, but most men will work jobs that suck before letting his family starve.  To compare this with God’s grief, we’d have to imagine a man tolerating so much abuse from his family that he’d say “they’re on their own, I’m out.”  Or, to a greater extent, we have to imagine a mother turning in her derelict sons to the police.  The anguish that these men and women experience isn’t accrued overnight.  It’s a grief symptomatic of long-term mental abuse and disappointment.  In other words, the Scriptures show that this et’sev – experienced by a long-suffering God – was likewise grief built over time, as men continually ran away from Him.

If we do not live righteously and fellowship with the One True God,  we are not doing as we were created to do, like petulant children who curse, disobey and otherwise abuse their parents.  Every man has a breaking point, and apparently so does God! Let us not grieve Him; let’s bring ourselves into righteous order and fellowship with Him.  In this way we shall be confident we’ll be on the right side of God’s next breaking point, and not have our creation erased. ◊

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Genesis 6:5-6, Noah and God’s Hidden Love Story

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil.  The LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)

The more I study the Word of God in Hebrew, the more I fall in love with it.  We really do lose so much in translation.  If I had read the above verses in my trusty and copyright-free World English Bible, I would’ve probably missed the nuances that beg to be discovered in Hebrew.

But before digging into the depths of Hebrew, there are two phrases repeated between these two verses that are conspicuous enough, even in English.  They are “Mankind in the earth” (haadam ba’aretz) and “his heart” (lib-o).  This isn’t a coincidence; it’s a pattern – and it’s up to us to follow that pattern and discover why these words were so woven.

This pattern seems to follow two lines of thought:  a connection of mankind with the earth and what’s going on in the heart.   At first I thought these were two parallelisms describing the statuses of both men and then God, but these do not seem to be clever rephrasing of the same thoughts, as we are accustomed to seeing elsewhere in the Bible (i.e. ‘ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find’).

No, this is something different.  It’s frightfully different, in fact.  Considering that Moses was once told by God “no one can look into my face and live” (Exodus 33:20), it’s sort of shocking that there is this glimpse into the Almighty’s heart.   This certainly hasn’t escaped my attention; there’s definitely something God wants us to learn here.

So if we hone in on the “Mankind in the earth” and “his heart” verses in the Hebrew, we see that they are have similarities (which I emphasize in bold):

The first is: Kiy rabah raat ha-adam ba-aretz wa-khal yetzer mach’sh’vot lib-o raq ra kal-ha-Yom (that great was the evil of Mankind in the earth, and every form of imagination of his heart is evil all the day).

The second is: Kiy asah et ha-adam Ba-aretz wa-Yit’atzev el-liB-o (that He made Mankind in the earth, and it pained him at His heart)

So we can see these two thoughts about the evil of mankind on one hand, and the pain experienced by God on the other, were similarly constructed (This is an example of a chiasm which is often found throughout the Bible).  Now there is one small but gargantuan phrase which separates the “evil of man” and “pain of God” thoughts.  Can you guess it?

It’s wayinachem yhweh (“And YHVH regretted”).  Its significance?  The root of this verb yinachem is shared by the name of Noach (Noah).  That cannot be a coincidence. This is a deep sod revelation that Noah and YHVH are TOGETHER, caught in between the evil of Mankind and the pain of the Almighty!  In fact, this prophetically and spiritually suggests that Noach – as he was running away from the evil of mankind, met YHVH as He was trying to forget the pain in His heart.  And it was here, in the middle, where they found each other.  So in the middle of all this chaos, we get this hidden love story.

A little later in the text we read that Noah was “found” by God (see vs. 8).  Maybe, just maybe, the Word is giving us additional hints as to how that meeting came about.

You may not agree with how I see things prophetically in the Word, and I can live with that.  But as the proverb says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search for it” (Proverbs 25:2).  This is one of those “things”.  I can honestly say that my experience in reading about Noah has been amplified, and I hope it is for you as well. ◊

Genesis 6:4-6, The Nephilim May Have Been Giants, But They are Still “Just Flesh”

The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when God’s sons came in to men’s daughters and had children with them.  Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

Opinions on the identity of the Nephilim range from the constructive to the flat-out bizarre, but no matter their intentions, I think almost all such speculations are based off the wrong questions.  We focus on the WHO the Nephilim were, but we don’t often ask better questions, such as:  ‘what did the Nephilim DO?’ or ‘what is it about the Nephilim God wants us to learn?’ To this latter point, it’s obvious God wants us to learn from them, seeing how He made them noteworthy by the simple fact He included them in His Word.

Thus ‘what happened?’ is the right question to ask, because as it stands almost no theory on the Nephilim really answers this question.  All theories generally treat their existence as an “aside”, yet none of them paints the Nephilim a warning for future generations.

It’s remarkable to me how the bizarre theories (i.e. the Nephilim were space aliens visiting the Earth from time to time) ignore how the Bible describes them.  Even some of the more dominant theories – i.e. the Nephilim were the giant offspring of fallen angels and human women – also surprisingly dismiss some of the more obvious facts disclosed to us.  This is something followers of the One True God must correct, as these theories misrepresent the Book and makes us seem like myth-tellers.  For one example, the Nephilim are often compared with the Greek Titan myths.

Therefore, it is imperative that any teaching on the Nephilim require textual criticism, logic, and God’s ‘what happened’ lesson.  And because we don’t want to ignore the facts that God DOES disclose to us, here’s what we can learn from the text:

The Nephilim were giants.   In the book of Numbers there is a description of Nephilim that reads:  “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up its inhabitantsAll the people who we saw in [the land] are men of great stature. There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim. We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:32-33)

There can be no doubt from this description that the Nephilim were giants, but when made to be something more, like space aliens or fallen angels, specific words get ignored.

The Nephilim were just human men.  There are only two places where the word n’filim appears (in Genesis 6 and Numbers 13, both of which I already cited).  In both cases they are clearly described with words applicable only to human beings. Numbers 13:32 uses am (people or tribe) and iysh (meaning “man”). In Genesis 6:4, iysh is also used, twice in the phrase “these are mighty men of old, men of renown.”  Lastly, Genesis 6:3 is the third indication of the Nephilim’s humanity, which not only calls them ‘men’ but also reads “he is just flesh” (using the word basar for ‘flesh’), which denotes the flesh-and-bone existence of mankind in the derogatory way.  To put it a modern way, God is dissing the Nephilim when He says “he is just flesh“!

They had sexual intercourse with human women.  It’s a tall order to consider the Nephilim as anything other than human men, especially when they had to have the tools necessary for you know… having children.   In other words, their iysh parts had to mesh with iysha (women) parts.  So the Bible betrays anyone who wants to enlarge the Nephilim beyond the status of regular men.

Speculations about the identity of the Nephilim traditionally hinge on the phrase “sons of God” (starting in Genesis 6:2). Admittedly, it is an awkward phrasing, but the writers were seemingly differentiating from its textual counterpart – the “daughters of men“.  It wouldn’t have the same effect if it read “men saw women, that they were good“.  They took poetic license for a number of reasons.

I’ve written about one such reason here.  The Hebrew ben (meaning “son”) was used a lot in the verses around Genesis 6, as is bat (“daughter”).  This carries with it spiritual undertones, meant to portray God looking at a world where his creations – his sons and daughters – were experiencing a spiritual drowning long before the physical one in the Great Flood.

There are also more practical reasons, too.  The text does not say “b’nai elohim” like we’d expect for “sons of God”, it has a definite article and reads ‘b’nai ha elohim‘ – literally “sons of the gods” (as skeptics are quick to show).   However, this is not a nod to polytheism.  Remember, the Nephilim are described in the human terms of iysh, am, and basar.  So this is either a contradiction, or poetic license.  I’ll continue to advocate reading the first few chapters of Genesis under a poetic lens and emphatically suggest that this is more of the same.

The word “elohim” is one of those terms that can only be interpreted through context. So is the entire phrase “b’nai ha elohim“.   For starters, ben doesn’t always denote “male-child” but it can also mean an entity.  For example, in 2 Kings 2:3 ‘sons of the prophets‘ clearly means just ‘the prophets’.  Additionally, elohim doesn’t always mean God (i.e., as in Genesis 1:1), it can also mean ‘rulers’.  A well-known example of denoting rulers as ‘elohim‘ can be found in Psalms 82: “God presides in the great assembly.  He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?” (vv.1-2) and again says,  ‘I said, “You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High.  Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers.” (vv. 6-7.  By the way this is also the exact point Messiah was making in John 10:34).

So given that the definition of elohim can mean ‘rulers’, and that these elohim had real human children, by context we can understand these ‘b’nai ha elohim‘ were human rulers provoking the One True God to wrath (which by the way was the same situation in Psalms 82).  We can conclude that these rulers were abusing their power, and building harems for themselves.

The fact of the matter is, Genesis 6:4 is clarifying who the “b’nai ha elohim” were.  Obviously, by using the term “in those days, and even after, so that” we know this was an insertion by compilers hundreds, maybe thousands of years after the fact.  The irony is, they probably were trying to clarify any confusion about who the b’nai ha elohim might’ve been!  They made it a point to highlight the Nephilim as two things: they were famous (men of name) and they were gibborim (powerful).  In other words, they were in fact our mysterious ‘b’nai ha elohim‘!

In other words, Genesis 6:4 is saying, ‘Remember those ‘elohim‘ who took women as wives, all that they wanted’? Well, this was when those infamous Nephilim were in power.  They were the rulers who took wives so that they would bear children to them, to keep the Nephilim in power.’

In other words, the Nephilim saw women as “good” (tovot, cf. Genesis 6:2, not ‘fair’ or ‘beautiful’ as some translate it) in the sense that women were “useful” for keeping them in power, because the more sex they had, the more the odds increased that they would have Nephilim children – powerful gibborim men to dominate the world.

In my last post I proposed that at some point men stopped his outward expansion into the Earth and set his sights inward – on dominating men and women and establishing a powerful dynasty of Nephilim rulers.  And God did NOT create men and women to be under the control of a gibborim dynasty:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. The LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)

Keep in mind, that these gods – like the rebuke of Psalms 82 – were ruling with corruptness and violence (cf. vs. 11).  They ruled by force; they took what they wanted violently.  If they wanted additional wives, they took them.   If they did not bear giant children for the Nephilim, the Nephilim gave her away to one of the non-Nephilim. So much in every way, the Nephilim were controlling who was being born.  That is why the Bible emphasizes their positions as rulers (bnai ha elohim) and being gibborim, as well as tying that to how they took wives and had children… for THEMSELVES.  In those days everything revolved around how they kept themselves in power.

I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone who wants to believe in space aliens or fallen angels who impregnate women.   The truth is, while these corrupt rulers may have been giants, they were not gentle giants – they were brutal giants, who destroyed the lives of many people on the earth.  All in all, as the LORD said, at the end of the day they were still “just flesh“, and received the same death that these powerful gibborim was powerless to stop.

 

Genesis 4:16-24, Cain’s Descendants and Implications for Today

Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NASB)

Many Bibles read that Cain lived in a place called “Nod”. However, what many readers lose in translation is that nod means “wandering”, and that nod is used just earlier in the phrase often translated as “a fugitive and a vagabond will you be in the Earth” (cf. Gen 4:12).  That phrase should probably be translated as “you will be wavering and wandering [nod] in the Earth”, which would put vs. 16 in proper context: as Cain enters a “land of wandering”, thus living out his judgment.

Previously I suggested there was a prophetic undertone to righteous Abel’s murder, which was followed by Cain’s “desolation” from the “Presence of God” (in other words, a prototypical “holy land”).  I believe this is a prophetic forecast for future “desolations” which occurred in the days of Moses, Judges, Prophets, the Babylonian captives, and ultimately, when Rome destroyed Israel in accordance with the prophecies of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  Thus the pattern of desolation is imprinted here early in the Scriptures – as a prophecy of warning to future generations.

So Cain’s “desolation” begins in verse 16 – which is a glorious oxymoron.  How does Cain “settle” (Heb. yeshev) in a “land of wandering”?  Which is it – did he settle down or wander aimlessly?  Adding to this conundrum is what happens next:

Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17)

The Hebrew word for “city” is iyr, which can designate any fortified place. Given that Cain was preoccupied with “anyone who finds me will smite me” (vs. 14), he likely built some sort of fortress.  At the same time, he named his son “Chanokh” (anglicized as “Enoch”) which is the same Hebrew word used when “dedicating” or “establishing” a memorial – i.e. how King Solomon “dedicated” the Holy Temple (ref. 1 Kings 8:23).  Therefore, when Enoch was born, it appears Cain was intending to re-establish himself!

So Cain built a fortress, he had a new family, and thus he “settled down” …but only according to man’s standard.  Prophetically speaking, Cain was still nod-wandering …according to the Word of God.  So the answer to the riddle is hiding in plain sight: Cain went out from the Presence… and was in the land of wandering.   If you are separated from the Presence of God, you’re “wandering”.  It doesn’t matter if you have the tallest castle with the thickest walls, or married to the prettiest wife with ten sons to carry on your legacy!  It doesn’t matter how you re-establish yourself; without the Presence, it’s vanity.

Let’s consider that Cain and his descendants (cf. Genesis 4:18-24) had quite the accomplishments – specifically, three of Cain’s fourth-great-grandsons revolutionized agriculture, the performing arts, and metallurgy (vv. 20-22).  In fact, these three sons – along with their father Lemech – would yield tremendous power and influence over the rest of the world, for it is written of them that they were “fathers of” all those who followed their trade.  In fact, Methusaleh, who was the same generation as Lemech the descendant of Cain –might have named his own son “Lemech” (who turned out to be the father of Noah, see. Gen. 5:25-30) in honor of him.

Cain’s descendants were sons of a desolation, and I write about their accomplishments and influence because of a strange trend I’m witnessing in Christian churches and especially in the Messianic faith.  You see, there is another group of people who are sons of a desolation, and who are likewise highly influential and successful all over the world.

I speak of today’s Jewish community.

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood as anti-Semitic.  It’s not anti-Semitic to identify how disproportionately successful Jewish people are in today’s society when compared to the success of other cultures and communities.  I find zero fault in anyone capitalizing on opportunities.

The fault I find is actually with Christians and Messianics.  As Christians/Messianics, we believe that the last desolation of Jerusalem occurred for a reason, one which was specifically prophesied by Messiah Yeshua.  Like Cain, these men went into all nations – wandering you might say, and immediately built shtetls and communities, and “settled down” so to speak.  As the centuries passed, Jews were unfairly persecuted, but eventually, they began to be innovators in the sciences, arts, and various industries.

However, while no one claims the descendants of Cain were successful because of Providence, why are Christians and Messianics claiming that today’s Jewish community is successful because of God’s favor?  This type of success is only measureable in this life, and doesn’t have any bearing on the age to come.

Just ask Cain’s descendants.  Their success and influence couldn’t save them from the Great Flood; in fact, we could argue that it helped contribute to the Great Flood!  And the success of anyone today – Jewish or Gentile – will not him in the upcoming Yom haDin (Day of Judgment).

Therefore, we must stop calling “favor” what the world calls “success”.  They are not necessarily compatible.

Now, in future posts I’ll discuss how Cain’s descendants could’ve been saved from the flood, just as Jews are returning to Israel in preparation for end-time fulfillments.  For now though, let not sons and daughters of God be swayed by anyone’s success in this life.  For as the ancient world was swayed by the influences of Cain’s descendants and drowned, what would become of us if we falsely confused God’s favor with human success? ♦

Genesis 3:4, When False Prophets Quote the Word in Verbatim

And the serpent said to the woman, no death will you die. (Genesis 3:4)

In my last post I proposed that Adam taught the torah (instruction) of ‘you will not eat from the Tree of Knowledge’ (cf. Gen. 2:16) to Chavah (Eve), as she obviously wasn’t there to hear God’s original commandment.

Yet neither was the serpent! It didn’t even know mankind until God brought it (with all other animals) to be named by Adam (cf. Gen. 2:2o). Yet, at the onset of Genesis 3, we see these two absentees have a telling conversation about God’s first torah.

So if we might reasonably assume Chavah learned the commandment from Adam, how on earth did the serpent learn it?

First, we know the serpent was ‘clever from all the beasts of the field’ (Gen. 3:1). From other uses the Hebrew word for ‘clever one’ we can deduce common traits of an arum:

  • operates by schemes (Job 5:12)
  • covers his own dishonor by manipulating the simple (Prov. 12:16)
  • doesn’t tell everything he knows (Prov. 12:23)
  • invests in knowledge before acting (Prov. 13:16, 14:18)
  • understands his every step (Prov. 14:8, 15)

If we didn’t attach the above quotes to a book, chapter and verse, we might say these characteristics describe the serpent’s method of deceiving Chavah, with the exception of ‘investing in knowledge before acting’. There’s no textual evidence the serpent invested in knowledge before slithering over to Eve… or is there?

I think there’s a tell in the Hebrew:

First, Eve quotes God: ‘you will not eat from it… pen t’mutun (“lest you die”-vs. 3:3).

Then, the serpent responds: ‘lo-mot t’mutun (“no dying will you (pl.) die”).

But alas! God originally told Adam: ‘mot tamut’ (“a dying will you (sing.) die”- Gen. 2:16).

Interesting. Although the serpent denies God’s Word – it does so in verbatim.

I can’t offer a concrete explanation for this. The serpent could have eavesdropped on Adam and Chavah’s conversation. It could be that all of creation witnessed and recorded that original Word. Or, which is what I personally believe, the serpent – as its nachash name implies – divined the knowledge from another power – namely, satan – who also quotes the Scriptures in verbatim. (cf. Matthew 4:5-6)

Any of these options are par for the course of a false prophet. They infiltrate God’s people in sheep’s fleece to learn their vulnerabilities and temptations. They study the recorded Word of God and can quote its lingo in verbatim. And the spiritualists, mediums and soothsayers still consult their powers of divinity to this day (e.g. Acts 16:16-17).

So why do false prophets learn Scriptures better than God’s people? Simple! Superior knowledge lends an air of credulity. Therefore, if a false prophet knows the lingo and recites the Word better than the Kingdom – eventually to draw them away – God’s people have only two reactions.

On the one side sits the wise, who act like Bereans, who form a Scripture posse, and study to see whether the things proffered are so (cf. Acts 17:11). Thus they easily spot a serpent tongue that takes quotes out of context or even speaks contrary to God’s word. However, on the other side of the aisle sit the foolish. These are those who were already flirting with temptations, had lost their hearts of thanksgiving, and have itching ears, looking for confirmation biases to justify their desires. These are the ones who listen to false prophets and believe a lie.

It’s obvious that Adam and Eve had vulnerabilities. They too lost their thanksiving. They added and subtracted God’s words, and they also had this air of curiosity about the forbidden underlining their marriage. Eden was already an environment ripe for the serpent to strike, speak the Word of God in verbatim, and entice the couple.

The Take-Away

However the false prophet serpent learned the Scripture in verbatim is open to interpretation and thus inconclusive.

But we did learn one thing: God’s adversaries are not passive. They invest in knowledge before devouring God’s people. They will quote Scriptures verbatim, because they will have to – if they purpose to misrepresent the One True God.

Now memorizing the Bible is one thing, but using verbatim quotes to deceive those who’ve already misunderstood the authentic word is even easier. That’s the serpent’s next trick, which it will prey perfectly on Chavah. That’s where I’ll continue. ♦