Biblical Literacy 101 and the Mission Field of Politics:
The TEI International Leadership School
- Tanakh I: Genesis 1-3 and the Power of True Assumptions
- Tanakh II: The Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy).
- Tanakh III: Joshua through Esther.
- Tanakh IV: Job through Malachi.
- The New Testament.
- Church History.
- Pagan Origin Texts, World Religions and Secular Constructs.
Biblical Literacy 101 and the Mission Field of Politics:
The TEI International Leadership School
Session #1: Genesis and the Genius of the Level Playing Field
- Conversion; and calling to see “theologically educated people in politics.”
- “Politics” is from the Greek term polis, which includes the “city-state” of “walled” culture (as in all ancient near civilizations), gaining protection from wild animals, thieves and opposing armies. “Politics” is used here to refer to the mission field of government, education, media, business, science and the arts (GEMBSA).
- “Political evil” is the greatest hindrance to the Gospel across the millennia; what therefore is the vision for replacing it with “political good?” This takes a biblical literary 101 in the believing church – a solid overview of the knowing the whole Bible, rooted in the interpretive leverage of Genesis 1-3; along with an overview of church history and world religions.
- We who are believers are those who put family and church ahead of the world of GEMBSA, and such a priority takes our greatest and most prayerful focus. But the world of GEMBSA is full of an idolatrous quest for power over others; how does the church become salt and light in their world?
- The only way to address this is in knowing the original nature of Hebrew covenant as the biblical basis for family, worship, covenantal community, this inheritance and fulfillment in the church, and then, the mission field of politics.
- This leads us to grasp the radical reality of the level playing field for all ideas to be heard equally, the nature of freedom, from the original heavens and earth, to the Garden of Eden, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the new heavens and earth.
- To grasp this idea is to have the unique leverage to completely transform human politics, if but a remnant if the church were to understand and live it.
- The nature of translation.
- Genesis 1:1 is the most succinct and comprehensive political statement in the Bible (to which we will turn shortly).
- Political issues given foundation; debates over the size and nature of government; definition of human life; definition of marriage; definition of creation and evolution; definition of race; poverty, slavery and on outward.
- Matthew 1:1 introduces the most political of the four Gospels:
1:1: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abram.
- Key term = Son of David; 25 times across all Scripture; 10 times in the Gospel of Matthew.
- The son of David means the son of the founding king of Jerusalem, and in the face of a pretender, Herod. Leverage question for the whole Gospel.
- This trajectory = Jesus, in the face of his enemies = started in Genesis 1-3 and is key to the mission of the church.
- Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 3:1-6.
21:1-3: And as they came near Jerusalem and came into Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus
sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village opposite you, and you will find a
donkey bound there, and her colt with her. Loose them and lead them to me. And if
anyone speaks to you, say to him that the Lord himself needs to have them, and he will
immediately return them.”
- Jesus has always had this timetable in view, Passover Week in Jerusalem (e.g., Luke 9:51).
- Contrast king Herod’s pretense on a war stallion and a cohort of soldiers; with the humility of King Jesus riding the foal of a donkey too young to be ridden without its mother leading the way.
21:4-5: This happened in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to the Daughter of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and aboard a donkey,
and on a colt, the son of a donkey.’ ”
- First messianic quote: Zechariah 9:9.
21:6-9: The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They led the donkey and the colt,
and laid their garments on them, and he sat on them. A large crowd spread their garments
on the road, while others struck branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And
the crowds that went ahead of him and those followed cried out, saying,
“Hosanna to the Son of the David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna is the highest!”
- 300,000 pilgrims flooding Jerusalem (pop. 80,000) for Passover Week.
- Reputation of Jesus across three-and-a-half years of ministry + Lazarus just raised from the dead.
- Second and third and fourth messianic quotes: Psalm 118:25 and 118:26.
- The Son of David is the key question.
21:10-11: And as he came into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
- The reputation of Jesus is not made by elitist political, religious and media approval, but by his heavenly Father and the common people.
21:12-13: And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all who were buying and selling in the temple.
And he overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling
doves. And he said, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are
making it a cave of robbers.”
- Speaking in the first person of Yahweh incarnate in quoting the fourth and fifth messianic quotes: Isaiah 56:7 + Jeremiah 7:11.
- This violent act by Jesus is against the stolen property of people via violent economics, not against persons or animals, and no one criticizes him. In fact, the poor rejoice.
21:14-15: And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the
chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things he did, and the children crying out
in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
- Elitist fury against violation of their “ritual purity” of the temple – allowing the blind, the lame and the little “urchins” into the temple courts (!).
21:16-17: They said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?
And Jesus said, “Yes, have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and suckling
babes you have perfected praise?’ ”
And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and he spent the night there.
- Elitist sarcasm, and Jesus’s wise response.
- The Son of David is the key question.
- The sixth messianic quote: Psalm 8:2, but only first half of the sentence.
- In their minds, they finish the sentence …
- Face to face: the strength of childlikeness versus the pretension of elitist pride (cf. Matthew 18:1-11).
- Can you imagine yourself inside the storyline?
- Invitation to filibuster.
21:23-25a: And he entered the temple, and while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of
the people came to him. They said, “In what sort of authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus answered, “I will also ask you one word. If you tell me, I will tell you by what
authority I am doing these things. The baptism of John – where did it come from? Was it
from heaven or from men?”
- What is the nature of true authority? By God or self-aggrandizing human institutions?
- The nature of rabbinic teaching, where questions answer question in search for a honest definition of terms.
- The freedom of the level playing field and the power to ask hard questions.
21:25b-27: They debated it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him’? But if we say, ‘From men’ – we fear the crowd, for
they all hold that John was a prophet.”
And they answered him, “We do not know.”
And he said, “Neither will I say to you by what authority I am doing these things (cf.
Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8).
- The pretension of ignorance – the weakest form of moral argument in history.
- See Cain in Genesis 4; and the hinge point of the 1973 Roe Wade decision “legalizing” human abortion.
- Rejection of the freedom of the level playing field and the power to love hard questions.
- Strike one.
- No answer.
- [Seventh messianic promise = 21:21: mountain of Isaiah 45:2; eighth = 21:42: capstone of Psalm 118, 22-23.]
22:15-17: Then the Pharisees went out and took council to trap him in his words. They sent their
disciples to him along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know you are a man of
truth and that you teach the way of God in truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you
pay no attention to their faces. Speak to us then, what do you think? Is it right to pay
taxes to Caesar or not?”
- The religious and political hatred between the disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians – “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
- The tender egos of self-appointed elitists (who cannot sway Jesus) and their desperate use of flattery.
22:18-22: But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to test
me? Show me the coin used for paying the poll-tax.” They brought him a denarius, and
he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose likeness?”
They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to
God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they marveled. So they left him and went away.
- Show me the facts – informed choice is based on an accurate definition of terms.
- Genesis 1:26-28 and the image of God is the interpretive leverage point.
- The religious idolatry of the disciples of the Pharisees is exposed (fear of regarding Caesar as a god); the political idolatry of the party of Herod (fear of regarding God as God and honoring the image of God) is exposed. “Two birds with one stone” – For the Pharisees, giving Caesar his coin is not an act of worship; for the Herodians, giving themselves to God as image-bearers of God is not insurrection).
- A false son of god exposed by the true Son of God.
- Strike two.
- No answer.
22:23-28: In that day the Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection, and they asked a
question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said to us that if a man dies without having children,
his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven
brothers among us. The first one married and died, and having no children, he left his
wife to his brother; likewise for the second, the third, and to the seventh. Afterward all
died, and also the woman. Accordingly, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the
seven, since all of them had her?
- The Sadducees hate the Pharisees, and now take their opportunity at one-upmanship.
- Heretical theology, richest of the elitists, and contrived question from the apocryphal book of Tobit, where all the men are killed by the “wicked demon ”
22:29-33: Jesus answered, “You are led astray because you know neither the Scriptures nor the
power of God. In the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage;
they will be like the angels in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead – have
you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching (cf. Mark 12:18-27;
- (Willful?) lack of true biblical literacy in not knowing the nature of angels, marriage and the resurrection.
- If there is no resurrection, then God is not their god; if there is no resurrection, there is no God, and they are as dead as they impute to their forefathers.
- The power of Jesus’s answer, and the “crowds.”
- Strike three (but in church softball, sometimes there are four strikes).
- No answer.
22:34-40: But the Pharisees, hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, got together. One of
them, skilled in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest
commandment in the Law?”
He said, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your
neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
- Jesus is the Teacher, the Rabbi of all rabbis, and even his enemies cannot avoid this tangible reality.
- “Silenced” by Jesus again, yet it is a self-censorship in the inability or unwillingness to answer an honest question.
- Three secondary but valid questions, and now the most important of all.
22:41-46: While the Pharisees were still gathered together, Jesus questioned them. He said, “What
do you think concerning the Christ? Whose Son is he?” They said, “The Son of David.”
He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For
“The Lord said to my Lord:
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies
under your feet.’
“If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his Son?” No one was able to answer a
Word; neither from that day on, no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
- Returning to the key question of the Son of David.
- The rabbinic power of Jesus in guiding the debate toward this conclusion point.
- Hebrew language: Yahweh said to my Adonai.
- First explicit use by Jesus of “enemies” as it is fulfilled.
- Self-censorship of the elitist enemies and plotters in their fear of freedom and the power to love hard questions – they dare not ask him any more questions.
- Thus, Jesus employs the power of the level playing field to prove himself blameless in the face of his enemies and the Enemy, and thus qualifies as the blameless Lamb of God, die for our sins, rise again and come again.
- The wisdom of this theology in the whole mission of the Gospel, rooted in Genesis 2, and in particular, for the most ill-served mission field of all – politics.
- Strike four, and you’re out.
- No answer.
(Parallel text) Mark 12:28-31:
One of the scribes came and heard them disputing. Knowing that Jesus answered well, he
asked a question, “Of all the commandments, which is first of all?”
Jesus said, “First of all is this, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And
love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as your yourself.’
There is no greater commandment than these.”
- Hebrew shema + Greek akouo.
(Parallel text) 12:32-37:
He said, “Well done teacher. You are truthful in saying that God is one and there is no
other but him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with
all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more abundant than all burnt
offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far away from
the kingdom of God.” And no longer did anyone dare ask him questions.
And Jesus spoke to them, teaching in the temple. He asked, “How is it that the Scribes
say that the Christ is the Son of David?”
“David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, said:
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies
under your feet.’
“David himself says he is the Lord, so how can we be his son?”
The large multitudes listened to him gladly.
- An honest Pharisee. Among the Pharisees in Matthew 12:1-8 and Mark 3:1-6?
- “Not far away from the kingdom” …
- Trinitarian question.
- Matthew 23:13-29: hypocrites, sons of hell, blind guides, haters of mercy, whitewashed tombs, murderers of the prophets, snakes and vipers …
- Then, kangaroo court and trial …
Jesus, in the Face of His Enemies
Chapter Twelve: Paradigm for Church and State
Jesus, in the face of his enemies, during Passover week, provides the true and complete paradigm for understanding church and state issues across the ages.
Indeed, the means by which he purchases our salvation is that of the level playing field.
In the face of his enemies, the character of Jesus is revealed, and so too the character of all who witness him – those who believe in him, and those who plot against him.
The biblical means to deal with hostility and censorship of the Gospel in the public arena is not in returning the same, but in offering the level playing field, where all ideas are equally heard, where truth is thus uniquely afforded the opportunity to rise to the top. It is to give to those who take from us, love those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. Light puts flight to darkness every time. Therefore, we must first live in the light.
In our study of the earthly and eternal political conflict during Passover week:
We see Jesus, the Son of David, using the Messianic praises of the people to enter the city and the temple area – the intersection of state and church. We see how worship defines the starting point for the engagement.
We see Jesus coming to challenge the idolatry of the temple, where true religion is prostituted to prop up tyrannical political power.
We see Jesus coming to challenge a puppet tyrannical king, by his identity as the Suffering Servant in his first coming, and by the prophetic authority of the King of kings and Lord of lords in his Second Coming. His agenda is eternal, not temporal, but it shakes the temporal as nothing else can. His first act in the temple area is to cleanse it of economic evil, that which masquerades as a service to the Jewish pilgrims. After pronouncing judgment on this evil, healing power and mercy flows for the needy.
We see Jesus, both shrewd and innocent, as he fulfills the Messianic prophecies in the presence of his enemies. Part of his shrewdness is the strength of childlikeness in the face of human ego and pretense.
We see Jesus, not accusing his enemies, as he wishes for them redemption; rather, they accuse themselves, even reciting to themselves the clause in Psalm 8 that reveals them to be the self-chosen enemies of the Messiah.
We see Jesus invite his enemies to a level playing field of open debate where they are free to rake him over the coals with their toughest questions, with no restrictions on their power to filibuster. In their questions, they immediately move away from the central issue of the Son of David, where they have already been silenced, and pose four secondary questions.
We see Jesus affirming the freedom of his enemies to pursue the secondary questions as intrinsic to a level playing field.
Their first question challenges his authority, and he responds with the power of the level playing field – posing them a question that aims back at the primary question they are avoiding. When, in seeking to give answer, they will not admit the truth, they cannot market a lie, so they pretend to be ignorant, the “I don’t know” posture, the weakest form of moral and intellectual argument in history.
We see Jesus then give them opportunity to see who they really are in a set of parables, but they refuse. They silence themselves the first time.
Their second question is a planned trap concerning temple and state. But their own internal divisions are plain to see, being composed of erstwhile enemies in conspiracy, as they ineptly seek to use flattery to trap Jesus.
We see Jesus, in response, call them what they are – hypocrites – but he still gives them the level playing field to continue the debate.
We see Jesus, again in response, asking to see the evidence (i.e. the denarius coin). Indeed, the facts of the case, a true definition of terms, always lead to informed choice and the truth. The real conflict is brought into the open – a false son of god in the face of the true Son of God, a false messiah in the face of the true Messiah. They silence themselves the second time.
Their third question is one of theological nitpicking, pretending to be serious when they are not, and again revealing their internal divisions.
We see Jesus giving answer with his command of the Scriptures, their ignorance of the same, and thus turning their question on its head. They silence themselves the third time.
Their fourth question is one of theological grandstanding concerning the greatest commandment of all.
We see Jesus answer it easily, and they stand there with nothing more to say – silenced for the fourth time.
We see Jesus, having answered the four secondary questions, now returning the debate to square one – whose Son is the Christ? They avoided it before, but now that their secondary questions have fallen flat, they are self-cornered into answering correctly – the Son of David, but without wanting to acknowledge Jesus as the Son.
His enemies now have to grapple with the question – the Son of David – they have sought to avoid all along. They would not, could not, address it the first time, and now, having been self-silenced following their four diversions, they have nowhere to turn but honesty or self-condemnation. Happily, at least one scribe chooses the former – the exception that proves the rule.
We see Jesus then pose a final question that reveals how they do not know the biblical reality of their answer, they do not grasp the nature of God the Father and God the Son, and they dare not ask him any more questions.
They silence themselves publicly – first in their initial non-answer to the quote of Psalm 8 relative to the Son of David, second with respect to their four secondary questions, and finally as Jesus returns the debate to the first and definitive question.
We see Jesus, having won the debate, with reference to a key Messianic prophecy, now being free to judge his enemies in public, though he deeply laments their chosen state.
We see Jesus, now free to proceed to the cross as the blameless Lamb of God, having submitted to the toughest questions of his sworn enemies in public debate, and thus having purchased the authority to die and rise again on behalf of those who believe in him.
Throughout the whole debate, the poor and needy – those seeking mercy – rejoice. And in earthly terms, it is hypocritical religious elitists who drive the political decision to crucify Jesus.
As believers meditate on the storyline and text of Jesus in the face of his enemies, we are empowered to become effective as salt and light in the political world. We see an ethic and pattern that transcends history, one that is universally applicable in grasping the biblical nature of church and state. What are the possibilities?
- We are able to worship freely in the public arena, while at the same time addressing political concerns, in concert with the same religious liberty honored for all people equally.
- We are free to proclaim Jesus as the Son of David, King of kings and Lord of lords; in concert with the same religious liberty honored for all people equally to proclaim their allegiances.
- We are free to live holy lives as temples of the Holy Spirit, serving the cleansing of the church from hypocrisy and idolatry.
- We are free to embrace the wisdom and innocence of the strength of childlikeness.
- We are free to advance the power of the level playing field – where by definition truth rises to the top, and the pretension of ignorance is overcome by a focus on true definition of terms.
- We are free to use our earthly citizenship to advance the coming kingdom of God, being fearless in speaking truth to power – even in the face of lethal opposition.
- We are free to remove static interference to the Gospel, remove false barriers, and thus empower the grasp of justice and mercy as a taste of the power of the age to come.
Also, on top of Jesus being the Son of David, if we were to examine each of the four angles that the enemies of Jesus took – challenging his authority, posing the church and state conflict, and harping on theological nitpicking and theological grandstanding – we would discover that there is nothing new under the sun.
Therefore, in the face of political evil:
If a modest core of biblically committed believers in our midst were to run for political office, rooted in the wisdom of Jesus in the face of his enemies, in a rigorous embrace of the level playing field where skeptics are genuinely heard and given freedom to pose their toughest questions – success would come to pass.
If the church were accordingly to become truly biblical, nations will shake, tyrants will come crashing down in the implosion of their own devices, and people of goodwill everywhere will rejoice.
Session #2: Genesis 1-2: The Good Order of Creation
- Genesis 1 = grand design of creation (Elohim); Genesis 2 = first covenant with man and woman, one of freedom (Yahweh Elohim).
Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
- Assumption #1: God’s nature.
- First pillar: The power to give.
- The most succinct and comprehensive political statement in the Bible.
- The domains of the invisible and the visible.
- Assumption #2: The heavenly court.
1:2: Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was above the face of the abyss, and
the Spirit of Elohim was hovering above the face of the waters.
- Introduction of Hebrew parallelism that covers 35-40 percent of the Hebrew Bible.
- The debate of order (the biblical Genesis) versus chaos (the Babylonian genesis); e.g. Jordan Peterson and classical mythologists.
- Alexander Heidel: The Babylonian Genesis + R.K. Harrison: Introduction to the Old Testament + Duane A. Garrett: Rethinking Genesis.
1:3-5: And Elohim said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And Elohim saw that the light
was good, and he made separation between the light and the darkness. And Elohim called
the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was
morning, the first day.
- It is good (x1).
- The first day.
- Assumption #3: Communication.
- Second pillar: The power to live in the light.
- Logic of sound, light, water, earth – set for life.
- The days of creation, the nature of evening and morning.
- Definition of domains …
Domains: (1) Light; (2) Waters above and below; (3) Land.
Rulers: (4) Agents of light; (5) Birds and fish; (6) Land creatures and Humans
(7): Sabbath; (7) Yahweh Elohim + Imagew-bearers
(NT parallel text): John 1:1-5:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him, without him
nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot understand and overcome it.
- Theology of the incarnation fulfilling the biblical order of creation.
- Darkness cannot “reach up, grasp, understand, overcome and destroy” the light (katalambano).
Genesis 1:6-8: And Elohim said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters to make separation
between waters and waters.” And Elohim fashioned the expanse and made separation
between waters under the expanse from the waters above. And it was so. And Elohim
called the expense “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning, the second day.
- The second day.
1:9-10: And Elohim said, “Let the waters under the heavens be collected in one place, and let the
dry land be seen.” And it was so. And Elohim called the dry land “earth,” and the
collected waters he called “seas.” And Elohim saw that it was good.
- It is good (x2).
1:11-13: And Elohim said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-producing herbage and seed-
producing trees, making fruit according to their various species. And it was so. The land
brought forth vegetation: herbage producing seed according to their species and trees
producing seed according to their kinds. And Elohim saw that it was good. And there was
evening, and there was morning, the third day.
- It is good (x3).
- The third day.
- No macroevolution of species.
- No GMOs (!) + question of organic foods.
- Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.): “Food is medicine and medicine is food.”
1:14-19: And Elohim said, “Let there be luminaries in the extended surface of the heavens, to
separate the interval of the day and the interval of the night. And let them be for signs and
appointed times for the days and years. And let them be luminaries in the extended
surface of the heavens to become light upon the earth. And Elohim made the two great
luminaries – the greater luminary to govern the day and the smaller luminary to govern
the night; and also the stars. And Elohim gave them in the extended surface of the
heavens to become lights upon the earth; and to govern the day and night and to separate
the interval between the light and the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good. And
there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
- It is good (x4).
- The fourth day.
- “To govern.”
- Definition of rulers …
- “Extended surface of the heavens.”
- Assumption #8: Science and the scientific method.
1:20-23: And Elohim said, “Let the waters swarm with swarming living souls, and let flying
creatures fly about, above the earth, and above the face of the extended surface of the
heavens. And Elohim created the great serpents and all the living souls that creep,
according to their swarming in the waters, according to their species.” And Elohim saw
that it was good. And Elohim blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and fill the waters of the
seas; and the flying creatures to be many in the earth.” And there was evening and there
was morning, the fifth day.
- “Living souls.”
- “Great serpents.”
- It was good (x5).
- The fifth day.
1:24-25: And Elohim said, “Let the earth bring forth living souls according to their species –
cattle, creeping things upon the earth according to their species.” And it was so.
And Elohim made the living souls according to their species, and all the cattle according
to their species, and all the creeping things upon the ground according to their species.
And Elohim saw that it was good.
- “Living souls.”
- “According to their species.”
- It is good (x6).
1:26-28: And Elohim said: “Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and rule the fish
of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens, and the cattle, and all the earth, and all
the creeping things that creep upon the ground.”
And Elohim created man in his image
in the image of Elohim he created him
with male and female he created them.
And Elohim blessed them and Elohim said to them, “Bear fruit and be many and fill the
earth and subdue it and rule the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens,
and the cattle, and all the earth, and all the creeping things that creep upon the ground.”
- Assumption #4: Human Nature.
- Assumption #7: Human Sexuality.
- Triple parallelism:
Man + his image.
Image + him.
Male & female + them.
Man = image = male and female.
Image = him = them.
- “To rule” the whole ecology.
1:29-31: And Elohim said, “Behold, I give to you every herb that produces seed that is sown that
is upon the face of the earth, and all the trees that produce seed that is sown. They will be
yours for food.
“And to all the living upon the earth and all the flying creatures of the heavens and all
that creep along the earth – to all living souls, green herbage is to be food.”
And Elohim saw all that he had made, and it was abundantly good. And there was
evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
- “Living souls” + green herbage.
- It is abundantly good (x7).
- The sixth day.
2:1-4a: And the heavens and the earth were finished in all their armies.
And Elohim finished all the work he was doing, and he sabbathed on the seventh day
from all the work he had been doing. And Elohim blessed the seventh day and made it
holy, because on it he sabbathed from all the work of creating he had been doing.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
- The “armies”: ts’baam); back to 1:1-1:2; the fall of Satan …
- The “sabbath” (shabbat).
- The seventh day.
Genesis 2:4b-6: In the day Yahweh Elohim made the heavens and the earth – and no bush of the
field had yet become on the earth, and all the herbage of the field had not yet sprouted;
Yahweh Elohim had not yet rained upon the land, and there was no man to work upon the
ground, and a mist came up from the ground and watered the whole face of the ground –
- Use of day (yom).
- Sequence from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2, from the grand design of Elohim, to the first covenant given man and woman by Yahweh Elohim on the sixth day.
2:7: Yahweh Elohim formed the man from the dry earth of the land, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of the living into the man to become a living soul.
- Assumption #4: Human nature.
- “To form” (yatzar; also “to create”); building from scratch, as in building the house.
- Crucial term: nephesh (etymology in Jacob in TDNT + H.W. Wolff in The Anthropology of the OT): “personhood” + “corporeal needfulness.”
- The nature of trust.
- What is the nature of salvation?
- Humanity of the unborn + nature of the “breath.”
2:8-9: And Yahweh Elohim planted a walled garden in Eden, from the east, and put the man
there whom he had formed. And Yahweh Elohim caused trees to grow from the ground,
desirable to the sight and good for food, and the tree of life was in the midst of the walled
garden, and the tree of the knowledge of and evil.
- Geography of the Garden of Eden, and definition of “walled garden.”
- Contrast between the trees of life and death, of good and evil.
2:10-14: And a river was going out from Eden, watering it, and from there it was divided, and into
four heads. The name of the one is Pishon; it surrounds all the earth of Havilah, where
there is gold. The gold of the earth there is good; the bdellium and the onyx is also there.
The name of the second river is Gihon; it surrounds the whole land of Cush. The name of
the third river is the Tigris; it runs alongside the east of the Asshur. The fourth river is the
- Assumptions #8 and #9: Science and the scientific method; verifiable history.
2:15-17: And Yahweh Elohim took the man and gave repose to him in the walled garden of Eden,
to work it and guard it. And Yahweh Elohim commanded upon the man, saying to him,
“From all of the trees in the midst of the walled garden, in feasting you shall continually
feast. But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day
you eat of it, in dying you shall continually die.
- Assumptions #5 and #6; Human freedom and hard questions.
- Third pillar: the power of informed choice.
- Fourth pillar: the power to love hard questions.
- “Guard” = shamar against intrusion of the devil.
- Giving “repose” or “rest” (nuha) versus “plant” (nata in 2:8); or “give” or “set” (natan in 3:12); or “put” (shiyth in 3:15); guarding a sanctuary, a polis …
- First use of “command.”
- The metaphor and parallelistic grammar of the feast.
- akol tokel moth tamuth: “in feasting you shall continually feast” v. “in dying you shall continually die.” Feast or die.
- The level playing field + invitation for evil to be present.
- The good = freedom = life; evil = slavery = death; a true definition of terms.
- Is Yahweh Elohim free? Is he free to do evil?
- Freedom is the power to do the good.
- 1985: Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR).
- God, life, choice and sex versus sex, choice, life and God: definition of idolatry.
- The first covenant in the Bible between Yahweh Elohim and man = freedom.
- The definition of death and hell.
- Assumption #10: covenantal law.
2:18: And Yahweh Elohim said, “It is not good for the man to be separate. I will make a helper
in front of him.”
- Assumption #7: Human sexuality.
- “Not good” = progress not yet done; Adam as a separate man does not equal the full image of God.
- “In front of” = “opposite” = “facing.”
- Equality and complementarity.
2:19-20: Now Yahweh Elohim had made – from the land – all the living of the field and all the
flying creatures of the heavens. And he brought them to the man to see what he would
call them. And whatever the man called the living souls, he called them. And the man
proclaimed the names of all the cattle, and the flying creatures of the heavens, and all the
living. But for Adam a helper in front of him was not found.
- Learning curve for Adam.
- The power in naming.
2:21-22: And Yahweh Elohim caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while sleeping, he took
a rib from out of his side and shut up the flesh underneath. And Yahweh Elohim built
from the rib, which he had taken from the man, into a woman, and he brought her to the
- “Built” (banah = regular term for building of pre-existing structure or materials, as to build an inner architecture and furnishing of the house).
- The metaphor of “rib” and “side.”
- MHF #11 Smith College 1994: 100-0; 50-0; 100-100: “Two choices in life – give and it shall be given or take before you are taken.
- Power of the man for good or evil …
2:23: And the man said,
“This anvil here is from my bones,
and flesh of my flesh,
this shall be called woman,
because from the man she was taken.”
- The first poem in human history.
- The “anvil” or “foot” (pagam) of hammering out refined iron works, as in the building the exterior and interior home.
2:24-25: Upon this pedestal, a man shall leave his father and mother, and cling to his woman, and
they shall become one flesh. The two of them were naked, the man and his woman, and
they had no shame.
- Dynamics of “anvil” and “pedestal” or “base” (ken).
- The two becoming one in marriage is the foundation, the base, the pedestal for all human civilization.
- Shameless nakedness = vulnerability (nephesh) and trust.
- The two become one, in the image of He who is Three in One.
- No monadism, no ontological separateness/individuality.
- Assumption #11: aggregate of life, liberty and property (stewardship) + the language of unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
In the Biblical Order of Creation: Twelve Positive Assumptions:
- God’s nature.
- The politics of the heavens and the earth.
- The heavenly court.
- Human nature.
- Human freedom.
- Hard questions.
- Human sexuality.
- Science and the scientific method.
- Verifiable history.
- Covenantal law.
- Life, liberty and property = unalienable rights (=good politics).
- A liberal arts education.
In Genesis 1-2:
- The power to give.
- The power to live in the light.
- The power of informed choice.
- The power to love hard questions.
In the Sermon on the Mount:
- The power to love enemies.
- The power to forgive.
Thus, the Six Pillars of Biblical Power = the metaethics of the language of loving of God and neighbor.
Session #3: Genesis 3:1-24: Broken Trust and the Promise of Redemption
Genesis 3:1-5: Now, the serpent was more crafty than all the living of the field which were made by
Yahweh Elohim. And he said angrily to the woman, “When did Elohim say not to eat
from any tree in the walled garden?”
The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit from the trees of the walled garden we
may eat. But from the fruit of the tree in the midst of the walled garden, Elohim said we
may not eat from it, and we may not touch it, lest we die.”
And the serpent said to the woman, “In dying you shall not continually die. For Elohim knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will become like Elohim, knowing good and evil.”
- Serpent in post-biblical Jewish understanding.
- “Angrily” – history; thus 1:1; 2:1 and 3:1 (anap and ap).
- “Do not touch it.”
- “In dying you shall not continually die” – reversal of 2:17; false definition of terms.
- Purpose of the serpent to break trust in the marriage relationship, by getting Eve to act independently of both Yahweh and Adam.
3:6-10: And the woman saw that the tree was good for food because it was a boundary to the
eyes, and a desirable tree for prudence. She took some fruit and ate it, and gave moreover
to her husband with her, and he ate it. And the eyes of the two were opened, and they
knew that they were naked. So they sewed together two fig leaves and made for
themselves loin coverings.
Then they heard the thunder of Yahweh Elohim as he marched into the walled garden in the storm of the moment. And the man and woman hid themselves from the face of Yahweh Elohim in the midst of the trees of the walled garden. But Yahweh Elohim called to the man saying, “Where are you belonging?”
- “Boundary” or “desirable.”
- “With her …”
- Trust is broken from Adam’s side toward Yahweh and Eve.
- = definition of “sin” before the use of the term
- [Jesus restores this vertical and horizontal brokenness.]
- Radical translation of v. 8 (qol + halak + ruach + b’yom)
- Nature of an oncoming tornado of judgment.
3:10-13: And he said, “I heard the thunder in the walled garden, and I feared because I was naked,
and I hid myself.” And he said, “Who declared to you your nakedness? From out of the
tree which I commanded you not to eat from – have you eaten?” And the man said, “The
woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave to me from the tree, and I ate.” And
Yahweh Elohim said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said,
“The serpent beguiled me and caused me to eat.”
- Adam’s hides from the oncoming freight train of the tornado …
- Blame-shifting of Adam toward his woman, even if his language is technically true.
- The woman’s honesty.
- Use of the hiphil
3:14-16: And Yahweh Elohim said to the serpent, “Because you have done this:
Cursed are you more than all the cattle
and more than all the living of the field.
Upon your belly you will crawl
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
in the interval between you and the woman.
and your seed and her seed
He will bruise you head
and you will bruise his heel.
To the woman he said,
I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing,
in pain you will beget sons
And towards your man you will have desire
and he will rule over you.
- Nature of the serpent crawling.
- War between the seed of the woman and the “seed” of the serpent.
- The Messiah comes from the woman, and the ancient serpent wars across biblical history to destroy the Messianic lineage, an especially through political evil.
- The reality of the cross as Jesus crushes the head of the serpent, being the Second Adam to fulfill what the first Adam failed in doing (cf. 2:15 and shamar).
- Nature of woman’s satisfying work v. the added pain of broken trust.
- The nature of “desire” (shuq; contrast Genesis 4:7) and rule (mashal).
3:17-19: And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, ate from
the tree which I commanded, saying, “Do not eat from it”:
Cursed is the ground,
with painful produce and with toil
you will eat of it all the days of your life.
And thorns and thistles will sprout up for you
and you will eat from the herbage of the field.
By the sweat of your anger you will eat your bread
until you return to the ground.
Since from it you were taken
because dry earth you are
and to dry earth you will shall return.
- Nature of man’s satisfying work v. the added pain of broken trust.
- Thorns and thistles are natural; question of broken stewardship.
- “Anger” (anap and ap) back to 3:1; nature of frustration in provision, and a unique curse on the male.
- Translation example of trying to render it “brow.”
- “Dust to dust.”
3:20-24: And Adam called the name of his woman Hayyeh, because she would become mother of
all the living.
And Yahweh Elohim made for Adam and for the woman tunics of skin to clothe them.
And Yahweh Elohim said, “Behold, the man has become like us, causing him to know
good and evil. And now, let him not send his hand and also take from the tree of life and
eat and live to eternity.
And Yahweh Elohim sent him from the enclosed garden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he cast out the man, and settled him east from the enclosed garden of Eden, he set cherubim and the flaming sword, turning every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
- Hayyeh (the name of “Eve”): redemption begins – “Living.”
- “Like us” – “one” or “another;” element of the heavenly court.
- For man and woman to know “good and evil” is a self-imposed eternal death sentence.
- Redemptive removal from temptation, suffering as a teacher, and how the cherubim have to do the guarding (shamar); initial response to Adam’s failure at shamar of 2:15.
Summary observations on Genesis 1-3:
Apart from Genesis 1-3, no one can define nor understand good v. evil; freedom v; slavery; life v. death. It is the only universal source for all humanity.
- Linkage of Genesis 1:1; 2:1; and 3:1 for the origins of the devil.
- The definition of nephesh and the status of the unborn.
- akol tokel versus moth tamuth as the first covenant, and the basis for the freedom of the level playing field.
- The 100-0; 50-50; 100-100 options for marriage.
- The paradigm of God → life → choice → sex v. sex → choice → life →/ God.
- The 12 positive assumptions as defined.
Session #4: Genesis 4-19: The Downward Spiral of Broken Marriage
Genesis 4:1: Adam knew Hayyeh his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain. And she said, “I have
gotten a man with Yahweh.”
4:2: And she added to her bearing his brother Abel. And Abel became a tender of flocks, and
Cain became a worker of the ground.
4:3: And from the course of time Cain produced fruit from the land as a gift to Yahweh.
4:4: And Abel brought from out of the birthright from the flock and the fat. And Yahweh
gazed upon Abel and his gift.
4:5: But upon Cain and his gift he did not gaze. And Cain burned greatly, and his face fell.
4:6: And Yahweh said to Cain, “What burns so deeply in you? And what is it that your face
4:7: “And whether you lift up the good, or if not the good, to the doorway, sin lies in wait and
desires you, and you must rule it.”
4:8: And Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us be in the field,” and Cain arose and killed
4:9: Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know.
Am I my brother’s guardian?”
- yadha = “to know.” In the Tanakh, 800 uses for cognitive; 30 uses for sexual; context is key.
- Eve (hayyeh = Living).
- Cain (= spear): lineage of the serpent.
- Abel (= vapor or breath): lineage of Hayyeh, lineage of the Messiah.
- Offerings of Cain and Abel: average v. best.
- “Birthright” = key term of b’coroth.
- With Cain, beginning of anti-Messianic lineage.
- For Cain – curse of 3:19 in some sort of alignment?
- “Burns” greatly = tarah = kindle a fire, burn, be angry; cf. serpent in 3:1.
- “Fell” = key descriptive term for action of sin.
- “Burns do deeply” = preposition + object lak = “towards” or “belonging.”
- “Doorway” = key term of patah (“to open,” an “opening’).
- “Sin” = key term of hattath (sin offering).
- “Desires” = shuq (cf. 3:16).
- “Lies in wait” (as per a leopard ready to pounce).
- “Rule” = mashal (cf. 1:16) = “to govern.”
- Love of hard questions – Yahweh to Can.
- “I do not know argument = weakest form of moral argument in history: will not admit the truth and cannot market the lie; cf. Pharisees against Jesus in Matthew 21:23-27 + Roe Wade.
- Opposite of informed choice.
- Anger in Cain’s response.
- “Guardian” = root from shamar (cf. 2:15 + 3:24).
- Cain’s judgment and protection’ vengeance seven tmes over; fear of further fratricide.
- The “mark” on Cain (oth) + Yahweh’s presence (panim) + exile to Nod, from the east of Eden.
- Cain’s wife, lineage, and now to the seventh generation.
- Expanse of culture (tents, musical instruments and iron-works).
4:23: And Lemech said to his women:
Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice
Women belonging to Lemech, hear my utterance:
For I have killed a man for bruising me
A boy for striking me.
4:24: If seven times Cain is avenged
Then Lemech seventy-seven.
- Bigamy, reification of women, anger and murder.
- Exaltation above Yahweh Elohim.
- Son of the serpent’s lineage, in anger (3:1, 19; 4:5-6), murder and idolatry.
- Shift from anti-Messianic lineage to Messianic.
- In Seth, Hayyeh gains a son to replace Abel.
- Men began to call on the name of Yahweh … thus, demarcation.
5:1: This is the book of the generations of Adam.
In the day Elohim created man, in the image of Elohim he made him
5:2: Male and female he created them
And he called them by the name of the man, in the day he created them.
5:3: When Adam had lived 130 years, he had born to him, in the likeness of his image; he
called his name Seth.
5:4: And there was in the days of Adam, after Seth was born, 800 years, and there were born
sons and daughters.
5:5: And it came to be that Adam lived 930 years, and he died.
- Seth = lineage of the Messiah.
- Redemption of the image of God, male and female and “the name of the man.”
- Sons and daughters.
- “And he died” (moth).
- Methuselah lives 969 years and dies the first year of the flood.
- Enoch “walked” with Elohim
5:6-32: exacting historical detail of lineage to Noah.
6:1: And it came to be, because of man, began to pollute himself (toward) many upon the face
of the ground, and daughters were born to them.
6:2: And the sons of the gods saw that the daughters of men were good; they took to
themselves all women they chose.
6:3: And Yahweh Elohim said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is flesh,
and his days will be 120 years.”
6:4: The Nephilim were in the earth in those days also, and afterward in pedestal purpose,
which brought the sons of the gods into the daughters of men, and they bore to
themselves the same, the strong who are antiquity, men of name.
6:5: And Yahweh saw much evil of man, upon the earth, and all the purposes of the mind was
altogether evil all the day.
- “Polluted” himself (root word = halal).
- “sons of the gods” (b’ney ha’elohim) as self-appointed human royalty + key grammar.
- “took” = laqah for sexual intimacy = marriage …
- Building of harems; reification of women + with “royals” extending their reach to the “commoners?”
- 120 years until the flood; patience of Yahweh with a violent people, giving them time to repent.
- Nephilim, from naphal for “fallen ones,” lineage of the serpent + Cain’s anger; humans not fallen angels.
- Much “evil” (root = ra = key term).
- “Mind” (leb = inner man, will, heart, mind”).
6:6-11: Judgment comes as earth is full of violence (hamas); Noah is “just” and “righteous (sadiq), “complete” and “sound” (tamim) among the people of his day. He “walked” (halak) with Elohim. Noah = the lineage of the Messiah.
6:12-8:22: The Flood.
6:18: First use of “covenant” (b’rith).
7:2: “clean and not clean” (tahor + lo tahor).
31-point Chiasm in Genesis 6-9:
A Noah (6:10a)
B Shem, Ham, and Japheth (10b)
C Ark to be built (14-16)
D Announcement of flood (17)
E Covenant with Noah (18-20)
F Food in the ark (21)
G Command for Noah to enter the ark (7:1-3)
H 7 days waiting for the flood (4-5)
I Beginning of the flood (7-10)
J Creature enter ark (11-15)
K Yahweh shuts Noah in ark (16)
L 40 days flood (17a)
M Waters increase (17b-18)
N Mountains covered (19-20)
O 150 days waters prevail (-24)
P ELOHIM REMEMBERS NOAH (8:1)
O’ 150 days waters start to recede (3)
N’ Mountain tops visible (4-5)
M’ Waters abate (5)
L’ 40 days [end of] (6a)
K’ Noah opens window of ark (6b)
J’ Creatures (raven and dove) leave ark (7-9)
I’ 7 days waiting for waters to subside (7-9)
H’ End of the flood (12-13)
G’ Word for Noah to leave ark (15-17 ))
F’ Food outside ark (9:1-4)
E’ Covenant with all flesh (8-10)
D’ Announcement of no future flood (11-17)
C’ Ark no longer needed (18a)
B’ Shem, Ham, and Japheth (18b)
A’ Noah (19)
9:1: And Elohim blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Bear fruit and be many and
fill the earth.”
9:2: And the fear and terror of you will be upon all the living of the earth, and all the flying
creatures of the heavens, and all that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea; into
your hands they are given.
9:3: All the creeping things which are alive are given to you for food, the green herbage, I
give you them all.
9:4: Surely, living flesh you shall not eat.
9:5: And surely, for the blood of your soul:
I will seek out the hand of the living
I will seek out the hand of the man
and the hand of the man’s brother
I will seek out the soul of the man.
9:6: Whoever pours out the blood of the man
By man his blood will be poured out
Because in the image of Elohim he has made the man.
- Recapitulation of the image of Elohim in Genesis 1:26-28, post fall.
- Yet reversal of peaceful radah in place.
- Pagan practice of eating animals while still alive.
- Animals for food.
- Accountability for the blood of man, from both animals and man.
- Capital punishment plus reality of sinful strife.
- “Soul” (nephesh + “life”).
9:8-17: Sign of the covenant.
9:18-29: Lineage of Noah, in the lineage of the Messiah.
9:20-29: Noah’s drunkenness.
9:22; 23b: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two
brothers outside … They walked backward and covered the nakedness of their
father, with their faces backward so the nakedness of their father they did not see.
- Regular verb “to see” (raa) for Ham, as well as for his brothers Shem and Japheth.
- Note of Canaan and curse on Canaan.
10:1-32: The table of nations (goyim or “peoples”); descendants of Japheth, Ham and Shem –
focus on Canaan (serpent’s now kidnapped lineage), and the Semites (Messianic lineage).
11:1-9: The Tower of Babel, and the origins of sorcery, sacred prostitution; dominating
biblical motif of Babylon, lineage of the serpent and Cain, always in opposition to the
lineage of the Messiah.
11:10-32: Lineage of Shem, descent into idolatry, to Terah, the father of Abram.
12:1: And Yahweh said to Abram, “Walk, walk, from the earth and from your kindred and the
house of your fathers, and to the earth which I will show you
12:2: I will make you into a great people
And I will bless you
And great will be your name
And you will be a blessing.
12:3: And I will bless those who bless you
And whoever curses you I will curse
And blessed among all the clans of the ground.”
- Abram (later Abraham) = lineage of the Messiah, now called apart.
- Knowledge of Yahweh fades among the goyim, and eventually Elohim fades much.
- Name of covenant making Yahweh central to Messianic lineage, and the whole reality of Yahweh Elohim.
- “Walk, walk …”
- Blessings versus curses; the power to give versus the power to take.
- The authority of light over darkness.
- The lineage of the Messiah is for all the Hebrews and all the goyim, through Abraham.
12:4ff: Abram’s lineage and sojourn.
13:1-14:24: Abram and Lot, and rescue of Lot.
14:13: “Abram the Hebrew.”
14:18: And so Melek-Sadeq, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. And he was the priest
to El Most High.
14:19: And he said to him, “Blessed be Abram to El Most High, Redeemer of the heavens and
14:20: And blessed be El Most High, who delivered your hard pebbles into your hands.”
And to him he gave a tenth of the whole.
- A priest among the goyim, a “king of righteousness,” knows Elohim, not only as Creator but as Redeemer.
- Abram honors him with a tithe of the spoils from the war rescuing Lot.
14:22: Language of Abram = “Yahweh, El Most High, Redeemer of the heavens and earth.”
- Definitive moment theologically.
15:1ff: Covenant with Abram.
15:4: And behold: The word of Yahweh to him, saying, “This man will not possess, but one
brought forth from your own loins will possess.”
15:5: And he brought him outside and said, “Pray, look at the heavens and count the stars, if
you are able to count them.”
15:6: And Abram said amen to Yahweh, and he thought it to be righteousness.
- A son through his own aged flesh, the lineage of the Messiah.
- Visual imagery; folly of scientism.
- amen in the Hebrew; also, “thought” or “reckon.”
15:7-11: Preparation for sacrifice to Yahweh, cutting the heifer, goat and ram in two.
15:12: And as the sun came in, Abram fell into a deep sleep. And behold, a great terror
and darkness fell upon him.
15:13: And he said to Abram, “Know, be it known, that your seed will be sojourners in a
land not to them; they will work and be afflicted for 400 years.
15:14: And moreover, I will judge the nation you serve, and afterward I will bring you
out with great property.
15:15: But you will be brought to your fathers in shalom and be buried with a good hoary
15:16: In the fourth generation they will be brought back to shalom; the inequity of the
Amorites being pushed too far.
15:17: And the sun came in and thick darkness came to be. And behold, a smoking
furnace of a fiery torch came to pass in the interval of these parts.
15:18a: In this day, Yahweh cut a covenant with Abram, saying …
- Prophetic darkness.
- Affliction in slavery prior to being made wealthy and then a blessing to the goyim.
- 400 years of patience for Amorites to repent.
- To cut (karath) a covenant (b’rith), as prototypically demonstrated here.
- Mutual maledictions as part of the oath.
- Covenant = 1) preamble, 2) historical prologue, 3) stipulations, 4) swearing of allegiance, 5) witnesses and sometimes 6) renewal.
16:1-16: Sarai and Hagar, arrival of concubinary in the lineage of the Messiah, and Ishmael.
Failure of Sarai to believe; Abram yielding. The war between the women – as Hagar
realizes how she is being used as a surrogate womb – becomes the war between the sons,
then the nations. All due to the broken marriage covenant.
16:11: And the angel of Yahweh said,
“Behold, you are pregnant, and a son will be born to you.
And you shall call his name Ishmael, for Yahweh hears your misery.
16:12: And he will become a wild donkey of a man
His hand will be among all, and the hands of all will be
And upon the face among all of his brothers, he will settle.
- Reification of Hagar by Sarai.
- Yahweh’s mercy: Ishmael = “he hears.”
- Quintessential fatherless boy, as Sarai will not permit Abram to be his present father.
17:1-27: Covenant of circumcision = cutting of the flesh, and becomes passive indicator of
covenant people in the lineage of the Messiah; yet Ishmael’s departure after prophetic
fulfillment of Isaac (“he laughs”) in his birth, and in whom the covenant continues
17:9: Yahweh to Abram: “Guard (shamar) my covenant (that at which Adam failed).
18:1-33: Three angelic visitors to Abram to announce coming birth of Isaac; Yahweh among them;
Abram’s freedom in the love of hard questions to question Yahweh on the coming
judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, as to his righteousness in so doing. As the “father of
faith,” Abraham’s stewardship as an image bearer of Elohim.
19:1-38: Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, and the folly of Lot. In a review of all 48 references
to Sodom (and Gomorrah is referenced sometimes, but in no other context). And with 19
of them being descriptive, the summation of their sin is this: “Sexual anarchy leads to
social anarchy which leads to the trampling of the poor and needy.”
- Genesis 1 + 2 = fidelity in marriage of one man and one woman for one lifetime as basis for a healthy social order.
- Genesis 3 = introduction of broken trust between man and woman, presages broken marriage covenant and broken trust within social order.
- Genesis 4 = murder + bigamy + reification of women.
- Genesis 5 = reaffirmation of marriage covenant. Now in a world of broken trust.
- Genesis 6 = Complete reification of women + = symptomatic of complete corruption, evil and violence; mockery of the marriage covenant = judgment of the flood
- Genesis 9: reaffirmation of the covenant of marriage and stewardship of the image of God to fill and subdue.
- Genesis 11 = Babel/Babylon, the archetypic source for sorcery and sacred prostitution.
- Genesis 12: Call of Abram, who si faithful in marriage.
- Genesis 16 = Folly of Sarai who introduces concubinary into the lineage of the Messiah; war between the women, war between the sons and war between the nations to this day.
- Genesis 19: Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah: “Sexual anarchy leads to social anarchy which leads to the trampling of the poor and needy.”
The anger of the serpent (3:1) leads to the frustration/anger of man in his work (3:19), to the murderous anger of jealously in Cain as a son of the serpent (4:5-6), to the anger of his descendant of Lemech in his reifications and murders (4:23-24), to the reifications, violence and evil preceding Noah’s flood, including Nephilim (6:1-11), to the idolatry of Babel (11:1-9), to the same magnified in Sodom and Gomorrah (19:1ff). Track anger throughout the Tanakh and New Testament, and consider James 3:3-12, with the tongue, “set on fire by hell,” “ a restless evil, full of deathly poison,” where we “call down curses against men made in Gods likeness.”