Better than the Blood of Bulls and Goats

FROM BEFORE THE GARDEN TO THE DESERT
Why Covenants
Lesson 1

Most Christians have a lot of Bible information floating and swirling in their minds. They recognize it as good, but none of the bits and pieces seem to relate to the other bits and pieces. As a result, many people who really love God, born again, Spirit filled, Bible toting, church going folks; are living lives that are filled with disease, poverty and sin, IN SHORT THEY ARE LACKING SPIRITUAL HEALTH. The answer to this problem is found in a clear understanding of the covenants. They are designed to show us that God has always had a plan of redemption, that would deliver us NOW AND FOREVER from the power of Satan.

In the Bible, there are fifteen major covenants between God and man. Many other covenants, or leagues between people, are also mentioned. Some of these we will examine as examples. As we gain understanding of the covenants, they serve as a way to sort out Bible stories. Through covenants, God gradually revealed His redemptive work for fallen mankind. As each one follows the other, we begin to see how all of the information fits together. Then the light comes on, and praise God!!!, the Bible makes sense, not just little pieces, but the whole of it.

We begin this search for understanding with background information that brings us to the reason for the first covenant. For a long time, as I read the book of Genesis, I wondered, where did Satan come from? What does it mean, "be fruitful and replenish the earth?" KJV. As I considered these questions, my confusion was compounded by those who filled the pulpits. In the early 60's there was not a lot of teaching going on. In full gospel circles, many pulpit expounders spoke as though the world had only been in existence for 6000 years. If that was so, what about the fossils and the dinosaurs?

My questions did not win friends for me, or influence favorably, those that I asked. The usual reply went something like this......"Now, now Missus, there are some things we must accept by faith." This reply was usually accompanied with a clerical smile and a fatherly pat on the shoulder. I was not satisfied. Someone once told me I should ask my husband in the privacy of our home, saying it was scriptural to do so. That wasn't much help, we had both been taught the same things, by the same people. The same ones who told me to ask my husband.

It is true, that faith is primary. "For he (or she) that comes to God must first believe that He is..." Hebrews 11:6. I did, but that still did not answer my questions. As I grew in the Lord (because I was hungry to know, and because He is a satisfier of the hungry) I came across pieces of information in the word. Then one day, it all came together and praise the Lord, I was satisfied. SATISFIED THAT BEFORE VERSE ONE AND BETWEEN VERSE ONE AND VERSE TWO OF CHAPTER ONE OF GENESIS.....THERE WAS A LOT OF ACTIVITY GOING ON. The first thing I registered on, was that eternity can not be measured according to our understanding. Time (as we know it) is only a small portion of eternity. Our measure of time began when God said, "Let there be light," then separated the light from the darkness and called the light day and the darkness night. Genesis 1:3-5

Before time began, there was eternity and there was God. Psalms 90:2 "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."

Psalms 93:2 "Your throne is established of old: You are from everlasting."

Where did God live before time began? I kept coming up with more questions. Fortunately I was getting better at finding the answers. There are some hints given, but no clear statements as to His residence prior to creation week.

Hint #1. Lucifer desired to exalt his throne above God's, which was said to be in the uttermost north.

Hint #2. We are told that promotion which comes from God, comes from the north. Isaiah 14:13 Psalms 76:6

We conclude, the uttermost north is the answer, but the bottom line is, no one knows for sure. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed, belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all of the words of the law." Deuteronomy 29:29 Ouch!!!!! like the man said, "Some things we must accept by faith."

What do I know? I know that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have always existed. How do I know that? It has been revealed to me by my Father in heaven. Once He did that, there is evidence everywhere I look. He has always been and always will be. Genesis 1:1  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

The Hebrew word translated as God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. Elohim is plural and means Gods, it also designates threefold strength. He (the Father, Son and Holy Ghost) is the all powerful one. Even a casual reading of the first eleven chapters of Genesis will reveal that God the Father was not alone. Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."

Genesis 11:7 "Go to, let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."

In the beginning, God created..... I used to read this verse as a continuous narrative. In my mind that meant 1,2,3, done. But as I discovered other scriptures, this method became a problem for me. Job 38:4-7  "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? tell me, if you have understanding. Who Determined it's measurements? surely you know! or who has stretched the line upon it? To what were it's foundations fastened? or who laid it's cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Sons of God? When God laid the foundation of the earth? Where did they come from? More searching....hey, I found it. God created them, they were angels.

"Angels are told to praise Him, for He commanded (spoke) and they were created." "All things were created by Him." Psalm 148:2-5 Colossians 1:16

God created the universe, suns, moons, stars, and planets. This includes AT LEAST three heavens. Hebrews 1:2  2Corinthians 12:1-3 Deuteronomy 10:14 The third heaven is where God dwells (except on the earth, where He dwells in the hearts of believers.) The second heaven is where the powers and principalities of the air dwell, and the first heaven is the atmosphere we call sky. 2 Corinthians 12:1-3 Ephesians 6:12 First the universe (including the heavens) then the angels. The angels (the sons of God) rejoiced when the foundation of the earth was laid.

What a terrific imagination our Father God has. Did you ever stop to think He could have made everything square and in black and white or gray? Square leaves, square fruit, fish, flowers and so on. Instead He created an infinite variety of shapes colors and textures. Even each snowflake comes in a different shape. Somewhere in the filing system of the United States government, there are films that have catalogued thousands of different shapes of snowflakes. This film was shown several years ago on Public Television. I wish I had been organized enough at the time to make note of the film and where I might locate it, but I didn't. Let me know if you did.

Anyway, back to the subject of angels, God used His marvelous creative ability to create a variety of angels.

There are those that are called: 1. Seraphim Isaiah 6:1-7 Seraphim have wings, their function is to praise and worship.

2. Cherubim Genesis 3:24 Cherubim have wings, their function is to protect the throne.

3. Zoa or living creatures Revelation 4:6-9 Living creatures that have wings. The word Zoa was incorrectly translated as beast in the KJV, it should have been living creatures. Their function is worship and praise.

4. Arch (chief) angels. Arch angels do not have wings, they function as leaders of different divisions of angels. Lucifer was of this group, he once headed up the music department. Michael still heads up the war department and is national guardian angel of Israel. Daniel 10:13-21. Gabriel is in charge of messages. Daniel 10 Luke 1:12-38

5. Angels, no wings, they sometimes visit us with out our being aware. Hebrews 13:2 Their function is to serve the saints, Hebrews 1:14 and do general duty. References are many. At the tomb of Jesus is an example. Matthew 28:2-5

When the term, the Angel of God or the Angel of the Lord appears in the Old Testament, it is clear this was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ, a Theophany. Don't be frightened, in easy chair language, that means an appearance on the earth of Christ before He came to be born of woman. I have to throw in a few theological words, so you will know I did my homework.

First the universe, which included the heavens, then the angels, then the earth. The Hebrew word translated earth is erets which means dry ground. Remember now, we are still in Genesis 1:1

Do you know that God is perfect? Jesus said, "You are to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Moses said of God, "His work is perfect." Solomon said, "He made everything beautiful in it's time." Matthew 5:48 Deuteronomy 32:4 Eccl. 3:11

Do you think a perfect God, could or would make something void and without form? I don't. Something, must have happened that changed God's perfect work into something that was void and without form. Isaiah 45:18 "For thus says the LORD who created the heavens; God himself who formed the earth and made it; who has established it, Who created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is no other."

When the earth was created, it was not a worthless waste, it was erets (dry ground) formed to be inhabited. Formed to be inhabited? By whom? Who is God speaking of? We are still in Genesis 1:1. At this time we have eternity, the universe, which includes at least three heavens, the angels and the perfect earth. And we still want to know; where did Satan come from? Who was it that inhabited the erets (the dry ground) and what about the fossils and dinosaurs?

The Gap Theory

It was only after many years of study that I learned about the Gap theory. A THEORY, IS AN EDUCATED GUESS. To arrive at a theory, a person takes all of the information and circumstantial evidence available, sifts through it and calls the conclusion a theory.  

Many well respected Bible teachers think there are billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This agrees with scientific research. Science has established an atomic dating system, based on how rapidly certain atoms decay.  This method dates the earth and indicates it is billions of years old. Those who stoutly maintain that Genesis one is the only creation week and the earth is only 6000 years old, do so thinking they are defending the Bible, when in fact they are creating problems for all believers. The gap theory makes the understanding of the Bible much easier, I personally feel it to be correct. Here it is, in simplified terms, maybe over simplified.

There was a time previous to Genesis 1:2 some of which cannot be dated because it precedes the earth.  The earth was created a perfect world inhabited by a pre adamic race ruled by angels. Lucifer, one of the chief angels, was the most beautiful of all of God's created sons. He was perfect (except like man he had freewill). He was established by God, to rule and reign over the perfect earth.

There had to be a social system on the earth in order for Lucifer to reign as ruler. Since it is the pattern (established in scripture) of God to provide for all needs; that system would have included plants, animals, birds, fish and other creatures. One of Lucifer's duties was to lead worship and praise on the earth (sometimes called commerce or traffic). This worship was to flow through him to God, for it was to God as creator, that it belonged. One day a flaw began to develop in Lucifer, the honor which belonged to God began to stick to his fingers. He desired to exalt himself and his throne, above God and His throne.  The sin was found in him.

Lucifer with one third of the angels, rebelled against the authority of God. There was war in heaven, and they were cast out. This caused a catastrophe which destroyed the atmospheric heaven around the earth. Waters were released, the water destroyed all of the inhabitants, the animals, the plants, the birds, the fish. EVERYTHING. The earth became void and without form.

The prophet Isaiah records it this way, "How you are fallen from heaven, howl in the morning, you have fallen to the ground." When Satan and his cohorts were cast out of heaven, they hit hard. This is the time geologists refer to as the time of great dying, when all the great animals died. It is to this age and prior that the fossils and the bones of the dinosaurs belong. Darkness was on the face of the deep.  Lucifer found the earth was no longer habitable, so he and his fallen angels set up their headquarters in the second heaven. The king of the earth had now become the prince of the air, and the dispensation of angels had come to a close.
Isaiah 14:12-14, Isaiah 45:18, Jeremiah 4:23,
Ezekiel 28:11-17, Revelation 12:7-9 and Luke 10:18

The Bible declares God is love and that He is just and merciful. It also tells us He is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. That means He is everywhere, all powerful and all knowing (omni is a word that means all).

I certainly agree with the above, but wish to add, God is not a quitter. He is a winner. Winners do not quit, they keep at it until they win; so now, beginning with Genesis 1:2 we see the determined purpose of God. Restoring the atmosphere, restoring the earth, seas, and all that dwell there in. Restoring the earth. Instead of creation week, it is re-creation week. A garden was prepared, into it was placed a man and a woman. They were given dominion and crowned with glory and honor. An agreement was established which was called the Edenic covenant, the dispensation of innocence had begun.


Next:  LESSON TWO