Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho — and Hazor Too, Part 1 (Covenant and the Cross #95)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s Passage of Scripture is Joshua 6:16-17 which reads: “And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”

Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:

In the holy war the city was reserved for God. The consequence is seen in the awful reality of God’s judgment on Jericho, as also on the whole of Canaan. However, judgment does not exclude grace. The mercy Rahab sought will be extended to her.

Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from Immanuel Kant. He said: “The Bible is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. A single line in the Bible has consoled me more than all the books I ever read besides.”

Our topic for today is titled “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho — and Hazor Too (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.

The book of Joshua tells of the conquest of the land of Canaan. As we read through this account, we find an interesting mixture of expressions. In some cases, we read that God fought the battles. In other cases, we read that the people fought the battles. What we see is that whatever the military strategies the Israelites pursued in waging their victorious battles, God was behind them all. This conquest took several years, probably about five. Unfortunately, we are not given a chronology. The fighting included three major campaigns and ended with the people of Israel in control of the land but not having completely conquered it. As we will see later, God designed the process this way to allow several generations to experience His work. The overall goal seems to have been to strengthen the nation’s confidence in God. Instead, the people stumbled because they failed to trust God and obey Him.

As we look at the account of the conquest, we are left with some questions. The key issue concerns God’s instructions to the Israelites to destroy the people who currently occupied the land. We see this as harsh—in fact, as a form of genocide. So before we look at the conquest narrative, we need to examine this problem.

— WHAT IS A “BAN”?

God’s order to destroy the Canaanites is usually expressed by the use of the Hebrew word herein.’ This term can be translated in a variety of ways. For example, in Joshua 6:17 the KJV says that Jericho will be “accursed.” The NASB uses the expression “under the ban.”The NRSV renders, “devoted for destruction.” The NIV says only that it will be “devoted.” So what does the word mean, and why is this important?

The primary reason it is important involves the historicity of the conquest. Beginning with the assumption that this “ban” meant total destruction (indicating a burning to the ground) of all the cities on which this edict was given, archaeologists have looked for burn layers in these cities to establish a correlation. Since they have not been able to find them, some have argued that the conquest did not occur. However, a closer look suggests that this argument is based on false assumptions.

To understand what the word meant for the audience involved in the con-quest, we need to look at how the term was used. When cities were placed under herein, specific guidelines were usually given, stating what was to be done. Normally the instructions did not include burning the city. In fact, in the entire conquest, only three cities are said to have been burned.’ Rather, the directions specified what to do with the people and the spoils. In the case of Jericho, Joshua was told that all human life was to be destroyed along with all animal life, including oxen, sheep, and donkeys—with the exception of Rahab and her family. Furthermore, the people were specifically warned against taking any of the loot. Earlier, in the case The conquest of Car of Heshbon, the city of Sihon, human life was exterminated, but all the animals and spoil were retained and given to the people. This latter example but to prepare for a appears to be more the norm?

Even this kind of punishment, however, gives us problems because of the high value we place on human life. Here we have a second reason why understanding the term herein is important. God has a different perspective, which is sometimes puzzling. In God’s view, the right to physical life is not an absolute, and individual humans may forfeit that right by the decisions they make. Certainly, human life is not limited to the temporal (or physical) realm, and God is more interested in the spiritual than the physical. In this light, we need to remember that the conquest of Canaan was not undertaken for the sake of conquest, but to prepare for a Messiah whose mission was to redeem the world. Within this context, the picture is one of judgment. Therefore, the bottom line seems to be whether God has the right to judge individuals and people groups. If so, then we need to look at the lifestyles of those Canaanites who were declared to be hereon. Was their destruction arbitrary, or were there reasons for a holy God to judge them?

Let’s Pray —

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.

***

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.

All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

Just Looking for a Home, Part 13 (Covenant and the Cross #94)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Deuteronomy 34:4-5 which reads: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land… And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”

Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:

In this final section of his work, Moses provides for a smooth transition in covenant administration after his death. Also included are the Song of Moses and Moses’ blessing of the twelve tribes. The book concludes with an obituary for Moses. Chapter 34 is a supplement, probably added by the author of the Book of Joshua in order to connect his work with the books of Moses.

Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from Billy Graham. He said: “Having knowledge of the Bible is essential to a rich and meaningful life.”

Our topic for today is titled “Just Looking for a Home (Part 13)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.

— The Succession of the Mediator

Although Moses had been the mediator between God and the people for nearly forty years, he would not be allowed to go into the land. Therefore, before the nation could proceed, the torch of leadership would have to be passed. We have already seen that Joshua was Moses’ designated replacement. He had been mentored by Moses for most of the past forty years and had already experienced leadership as the general of the armies. He had shown his faithfulness by believing God at Kadesh Barnea. He had also spent many hours at the tent of meeting with his mentor. Just so that there would be no mistake, however, Joshua was commissioned publicly before the people
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With this, Moses had wrapped up his work. Still, he had a few final words for the people—and they were not very complimentary. He told them that he fully expected that after his death they would act corruptly and turn from God’s ways. Nevertheless, he taught them one final song and gave them a final blessing.

The text then records the death of Moses, which raises a question. The traditional understanding is that Moses wrote Deuteronomy, but if so, how could he write of his own death? Most likely Joshua appended this section. He was now the mediator. The book of Joshua tells us that he was given the responsibility to add to the Book of the Law, a task he faithfully carried out.

— LOOKING AHEAD

As we wrap up our discussion of the Pentateuch, we find the nation finally ready to go into the land. Forty years have passed since the original group left Egypt, making the date approximately 1406 BCE. This generation has just renewed the covenant with God that the previous generation had made at Mount Sinai. We note a more positive spirit within the people but still see evidence that many of them had not really understood who God was or accepted His authority. The people carried this book of the covenant with them so that they had a history of how God worked with their parents and earlier generations. This book would serve to remind them of God’s faithfulness.

One interesting point, however, is that the location of entry has been changed from Kadesh Barnea. Instead of the most direct route from Sinai up a gentle slope to the central plateau, they will be entering the land through Jericho—one of the strongest cities in the land. To get in, then, they will need God to work just as mightily as He had in the past.

Let’s Pray —

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.

***

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.

All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

Just Looking for a Home, Part 12 (Covenant and the Cross #93)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Deuteronomy 29:9-13 which reads: “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:

In terming this a renewal of the Sinai covenant, we should remember that the covenant was the same, but the people were not. All those over twenty at Sinai had perished in the wilderness. Many of the people under twenty then, now between forty and sixty, had seen the great events but had not taken part. Now they too were to affirm the covenant.

Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from A. Galloway. He said: “The Bible is a book stands alone. There never was, nor ever will be, another like it. As there is but one sun to enlighten the world naturally, so there is but one Book to enlighten the world spiritually. May that Book become to each of us the man of our counsel, the guide of our journey, and our support and comfort in life and in death?””

Our topic for today is titled “Just Looking for a Home (Part 12)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.

— A Perpetual Trust

The idea of a perpetual trust is a legal concept that takes the stipulations beyond the present generation. There are several indications of this concern through this section of the text, most specifically Deuteronomy 29:15, which states that in addition to the people standing there, the covenant covered “those who are not here today.” The context suggests that the reference was to their descendants.

Incorporated with this section are guidelines for a ceremony in which the people of the nation would renew the covenant on a regular basis. As laid out in Deuteronomy 27, this ceremony was to take place at Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, a pair of peaks located in the central highlands. Here large stones were to be set up and whitewashed. On these stones the words of the Law (the covenant between God and the people) were to be written for public observation. Following this, the people were to gather on the two mountains—six tribes on Ebal and six tribes on Gerizim. The tribes on Mount Ebal (today characterized as a barren peak) were to proclaim the curses that would result if the people did not obey the covenant. The tribes on Mount Gerizim (in contrast, a well-forested peak) were to proclaim the blessings that would result as long as the people obeyed the covenant stipulations. If the difference in the mountains was this significant, this ceremony must have provided a dramatic visual image.

We are not told specifically when these renewal ceremonies were to take place, but Deuteronomy 31:10-13 suggests that it would be associated with the Sabbath year celebrations. At that time, the people were to gather at a specific location (unnamed in this context), where they would have the entire Law read to them so that they would be familiar with and follow its precepts. As we read the blessings and curses, we note that there is a heavy emphasis on the curses as a warning. Furthermore, there is a progression to them. This aspect would be significant later when Josiah rediscovered the Law and noted that the people were at the next-to-the-last step. Joshua 8:30 shows that the Israelites observed this ceremony during the conquest as commanded. We have no record of follow-up celebrations, but it is likely that they took place during periods when the people tried to obey the entire Law. However, the failure to observe this ceremony was part of the reason the nation eventually suffered exile.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.

All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

Just Looking for a Home, Part 10 (Covenant and the Cross #91)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 31:1-5 which reads: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the Lord of Midian. Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war. So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.”

Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:

Vengeance against the Midianites for their efforts to seduce the Israelites into idol worship and sexual immorality is undertaken. This narrative deals particularly with details concerning the plunder taken from the Midianites. Because the plunder of war had to be handled in a fashion that preserved the holiness of God and of the people, the principles stated here helped prepare the Israelites for the coming conquest of the land.

Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from George Müller. He said: “I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it. The food of the inner man is the Word of God; and not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.”

Our topic for today is titled “Just Looking for a Home (Part 10)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.

— REDEDICATION BEFORE CONQUEST

Encamped on the eastern shores of the Jordan River, the people began to concentrate on preparing to go into the land. However, several matters had to be completed before they could do so.

First, Moses conducted a second census of the new generation. A quick glance at these figures shows that the overall size of the nation was about the same as it had been at the start of the Exodus. This detail reminded the original audience of God’s faithfulness through hard times. Interestingly, several tribes had drastically decreased in numbers (e.g., Simeon, which was now only about a third of its original size), while others had had significant growth (e.g., Manasseh, which was more than 60 percent larger).

Second, Joshua was commissioned to succeed Moses as the leader of the nation. His new position seems to have been mediator of the covenant. As such, he represented the people before God, and God before the people. Moses was told at this point that he would soon leave the people and go up to a mountain where he would die. Analysis shows that some of this material is arranged topically rather than in a strictly chronological order. That seems to be the case from here to the end of the Pentateuch. For example, it is after this appointment that we read of the revenge against the Midianites in Numbers 31, which chronologically would seem to fit better with Numbers 25:17.

Third, we learn that several of the tribes have been eyeing the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River (an event that seems to have occurred chronologically before the Balaam incident). This region was good grazing land, and the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh asked for permission to settle in this region. Initially, Moses was upset, comparing this request with the unbelief that had occurred a generation earlier at Kadesh Barnea. The tribes demurred, however, asserting that they were willing to participate in the conquest, but that this land seemed to fit their every desire. They argued that they would settle their families into the villages and cities, build sheepfolds, and then go with the rest of the nation through the conquest. Moses agreed, and this region became part of Israel but a part noted for its grazing (somewhat like the west Texas of ancient Israel).

Fourth, Moses described the land in the region west of the Jordan (modern Israel), which would become theirs. He laid out borders and told them to allocate the land by lots when they finished the conquest. He also set apart two groups of cities. The larger group was cities for the Levites, who would not receive a tribal inheritance but would be dispersed throughout the nation. As we have already observed, part of the reason for this decision seemed to be that they could represent God to the people in terms of teaching and offer certain sacrifices. Included in these Levitical towns were six that were called cities of refuge: three were on the west side of the Jordan and three on the east side. These were sanctuaries for people who had committed manslaughter.

The final act of Moses was to reiterate the covenant. This rededication is set forth in the book of Deuteronomy.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.

All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

God’s Mercy in the Midst of the Curses (The Covenant & the Cross #38)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:20-24 which reads: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul::

Adam’s choice of the name Eve demonstrates his faith in God’s promise that the woman would bear children, including the Seed who would defeat Satan.

God’s durable “tunics” contrast with the inadequate attempt by Adam and Eve to cover their shame. His provision also entailed killing an animal, perhaps suggesting a sacrifice for sin.

The cherubim protect God’s holiness, prohibiting sinners’ access to Him.

The coming heavenly Adam, who bears the curse of toil, sweat, thorns, conflict, death on a tree, and descent into dust, will regain the garden, tearing apart the veil of the temple on which the cherubim were sewn. The flaming sword is the first weapon of government or law-enforcement.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Immanuel Kant. He said: “The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”

Our topic for today is titled: “God’s Mercy in the Midst of the Curses” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

While the picture is largely negative as we read these curses, we also find at least four demonstrations of God’s mercy in this passage.

First, physical death did not occur immediately. Part of the warning to Adam was that if he ate of the fruit, he would die. Satan told Eve that she wouldn’t die. Actually, the way the phrase is worded in Hebrew, it could also be translated, “It’s not absolutely sure that you’ll die.” In either case, it was a half-truth. Adam and Eve died spiritually at the point of disobedience. Physical death came later, allowing an opportunity for repentance and the beginning of the process of redemption).

Second, we see the beginning of this process of redemption. God made “garments of skin” to cover Adam and Eve, which means that some animals had to die. Since we do not read about a climate change until after the Flood, these coverings must have been designed to hide the nakedness and shame of Adam and Eve.

Third, humankind was exiled from the garden, not specifically as punishment, but to prevent the now disobedient humans from eating from the tree of life and thus living forever in their sinful state. It also indicates that physical death would be a vital aspect of the process of redemption.

Fourth, as already mentioned, there was a promise of a redeemer. It is this promise that sets the stage for Genesis 4, humankind’s next failure.

The Serpent (The Covenant & the Cross #37)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:14-15 which reads: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul::

The curse denotes a breaking of the serpent’s powers. Dust is the symbol of abject humiliation, an indignity lasting forever. Satan’s final defeat under the heel of the Messiah is delayed so that God’s program of redemption through the promised Seed of the woman may be accomplished.

Humanity is now divided into two communities: the redeemed, who love God, and the reprobate, who love self. The division finds immediate expression in the hostility of Cain against Abel. This prophecy finds ultimate fulfillment in the triumph of the Second Adam, and the community united with Him, over the forces of sin, death, and the devil.

Before His glorious victory, the woman’s Seed must suffer to win the new community from the serpent’s dominion. The suffering Christ is victorious. He has already won the victory at the Cross by providing an atonement for the saints and will consummate it at His Second Coming.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from James McCosh. He said: “The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”

serpent_of_adam_and_eveOur topic for today is titled: “The Serpent” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

In our discussions about the Fall, we have to this point neglected the serpent. Any way we look at it, this is a difficult issue. Exactly what creature is involved? Why did Eve not express surprise when it spoke? How is Satan related to it? With regard to these and other questions, the biblical writer has not seen fit to give us the information. At the end of the Bible, however, we are given some insight when Revelation 12:9 identifies Satan as the serpent who deceives.

Our concern at this point is that the serpent is also cursed, but there is an interesting detail here that we must note and keep in mind. God gives an anticipation of a later judgment on the serpent in the form of the first prophecy of a coming redeemer or messiah. In Genesis 3:15, God tells the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This prophecy is known as the protoevangelium, meaning, “the first [announcement of the] gospel.” The immediate manifestation of this prediction is a perpetual battle between good and evil in this world. However, it is anticipated that the ultimate outcome will be the victory of the Messiah.

Humanity’s Relationship with the World, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #36)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:17-19 which reads: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck:

God told Adam that he would experience great pain in scratching out a livelihood. The word translated “painful toil” is the same word used for the woman’s pain. (This word occurs only three times in the Old Testament.) Death will be man’s end — he will return to the ground (a gracious provision in view of the suffering), and he will return to dust and become the serpent’s prey again. So much for ambitions for divinity! Man may attempt to be like God, but he is dust.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Leonard Ravenhill. He said: “One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with the World (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

As we look at God’s admonitions to Adam, we note two aspects of His judgment, both of which address man’s relationship with the world. The first aspect is that the ground is cursed because of man. What this means is not completely clear. On the one hand, it seems to set up the next aspect of judgment, which involves exhausting labor on the part of man to grow his crops. On the other hand, it seems to be a separate aspect of judgment.

This cursing of the ground may be what Paul addresses in Romans 8:20-21, where he notes that all of creation was subjected to “futility” and “slavery to corruption.” If so, then what we see here may be God announcing His temporary acceptance of Satan’s usurpation of man’s position of authority over the world. We do see later that even Jesus accepted the fact that Satan had become “the ruler of this world.” At the same time, Jesus anticipated Satan’s future demise. This concept, however, takes us into a realm totally separate from ours, the spiritual. It also implies warfare between fallen angels and God. This warfare is mentioned a number of times throughout the Bible and seems to lay a foundation for many of the struggles we face today—but that is an entirely different subject and must be dealt with elsewhere.

The second aspect of judgment is that difficult labor would be necessary for human sustenance. In a general sense, this means that agriculture would become a very laborious occupation: the ground would now produce thorns and thistles instead of the products desired. Consequently, man would have to labor “by the sweat of [his] brow” for his food. There are two factors involved in this judgment: weeds and thistles.

Humanity’s Relationship with the World, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #35)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:11-12 which reads: “And he [God] said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul: “The questions which God asks prod Adam and Eve to confess their guilt. God asks Satan no questions, simply consigning him to judgment. Adam and Eve show their allegiance to Satan by distorting the truth, accusing one another, and ultimately accusing God. Their efforts to conceal their sin only expose it.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from R.C. Sproul. He said: “We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with the World (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The uniqueness of man’s stewardship position is amplified in the Genesis 2 account of Creation. Adam is placed in a specific location, the garden of Eden, with guidelines given to manage it. The location of this garden has been debated, but if the Flood was as extensive as indicated later in Genesis, the garden was obviously destroyed in the rearrangement of the earth’s surface. As previously noted, the purpose of the garden would seem to be an initial geographic limitation to the work that Adam was to do personally. Obviously, one person (or couple) could not directly oversee an entire globe. This was the reason behind the command in Genesis 1 for humankind to multiply and, as a whole, to manage the world.

Adam’s position of world manager was illustrated by the fact that he named the animals. In Israelite culture, the giving of a name was viewed as a demonstration of a superior position. One of the problems of this section is its relationship with Genesis 1:24-25, which places the creation of the animals prior to the creation of man. (“And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field.”) The text suggests two possible solutions. First, the Hebrew grammar leaves open the possibility that the animals had been created earlier and brought to Adam at this point. Second, the terminology (“beasts of the field”) raises the possibility that the animals named at this point were only those we call domesticated animals, that is, those with which man was to have a special working relationship.

The world over which man had responsibility is not the same as the world in which we live. The environment was perfect. We read that there was no rain, but only a daily overnight mist to water the ground. One theory that has been inferred from the changes created by the Flood is that originally the earth was covered by a water-vapor canopy that protected it from harmful radiation and maintained a uniform climate both around the globe and throughout the year. The surface area of the land regions was probably much greater than today, including all of the land above the continental shelves. In addition, there apparently was only one continent that was more spread out, for presumably the high mountain ranges had not yet been squeezed up. These factors all changed as a result of the Fall and the Flood.

Humanity’s Relationship with Self (The Covenant & the Cross #34)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/25444/210939-humanity-s-relationship-with-self-the-covenant-the-cross-34.mp3]

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:6-7 which reads: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul:

Adam and Eve’s spiritual death is shown by their alienation from one another, symbolized by the sewing of fig leaves together for clothing, and separation from God, signified by their hiding among the trees. Nakedness in the Old Testament suggests weakness, need, and humiliation. The Hebrew word for “naked” sounds like the Hebrew word for “crafty” in Genesis 3:1. The intimacy of marriage is shattered; trust is replaced by distrust. The first experience of guilt was expressed in terms of an awareness of nakedness. Redemption is linked to God providing a covering for human sin. Their consciences condemning them, they shrank from the intimacy with God they formerly enjoyed in the garden. Their expulsion from it matches their attitudes and actions.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from R.C. Sproul. He said: “We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with Self” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The third area of relationship affected by the Fall is internal, or psychological. It is logical to suggest that before the Fall, both Adam and Eve were in perfect mental health. At this point of our text, we see only hints of the internal problems that develop, two of which we will look at here.

The first evidence of psychological problems is manifested when Adam and Eve realize they are naked, which suggests guilt and shame. This is why they try to cover themselves with fig leaves.

The second evidence is reflected in Adam’s response to God when God asks him whether he has eaten of the tree. Adam exhibits self-deceit when he tries to pass the blame on to the woman (“she gave me”) and back to God (“the woman you put here with me”). In other words, Adam is saying, “God, it’s not my fault. I was doing fine until the woman came along, and after all, You gave her to me.”

It has been suggested that most psychological problems are grounded in these two issues: guilt and self-deceit. Of course, other factors that affect our mental well-being include the defective relationships already discussed, not to mention physiological problems as a result of a now defective world.

Humanity’s Relationship with Humankind, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #33)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/25444/209414-humanity-s-relationship-with-humankind-part-2-the-covenant-the-cross-33.mp3]

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:17-19 which reads: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul:

“The woman is frustrated in her natural relationships within the home: painful labor in bearing children and subordination toward her husband. The man is frustrated in his activity to provide food. Each experiences pain by these reversals. Man’s natural relationship to the ground, to rule over it, is reversed; instead of submitting to him, it resists and eventually swallows him. The earth, frustrated by the Creator’s assignment to disharmony, longs for restoration. Labor itself is a blessing because man’s work reflects the activity of the working God. Physical death is both a judgment and a blessing. It renders all activity vain, but delivers the redeemed from earthly frustration and opens the way to an eternal salvation that outlasts the grave.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martin Luther. He said: “For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with Humankind (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Two relationships are addressed by the curse recorded in Genesis 3:6 — that of mother and child and that of husband and wife. While the text speaks of childbirth, more than the physical pain of birth seems to be involved. First, generally where the Hebrew word here translated “pain” is used, it means “vexation, grief, anguish” or some type of emotional pain. Second, the phrase “your pains in childbearing” renders a difficult expression — literally, “your pain and your conception.” While scholars have usually taken the phrase to mean physical pain in the process of giving birth, other possibilities include an accelerated birthrate or, coupled with the next phrase, other types of pain experienced later in the parenting process. This latter meaning is borne out by historical evidence when we evaluate the struggles between parents (mothers especially) and their children. Part of the pain a parent experiences “in childbearing” is the emotional pain as a child grows and does not live up to the expectations of the mother or father.

The second relationship noted in Genesis 3:16 is that of husband and wife. the observation is addressed to the woman, but the object of the relationship is the man. The expression “your desire will be for” is used only one other time in the Old Testament, and that is in the next chapter, where Cain is told by God, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you.” The phrase seems to suggest a seeking of dominance. In the next clause of Genesis 3:16 (“and he will rule over you”), the Hebrew word for “and” may just as likely be translated “but”, so what we seem to see here is conflict between the previously complementary couple. Thus, rather than a smoothly running hierarchy, we now have competition, with each person seeking to advance the self rather than the world.

This passage then sets the pattern we see in human relationships. Although specifically addressed only to the original couple, the results have clearly spread throughout the human race. It is a pattern of self-seeking and personal advancement at the expense of others; it is a picture of grief and sorrow as a result of failed relationships.