Revelation 11:15-19, The Seventh Trumpet.

15] Then the seventh angel sounded:  And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”  16] And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17] saying:

“We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18] The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that you should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

19] Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.  And there were lightnings, noises, thundering, an earthquake, and great hail. (NKJV)

Revelation 10:5 refers to the days of the sounding of the seventh angel and says “the mystery of God” will be finished.  We talked about this some, that this “mystery” has to do with the “problem” of evil and why God doesn’t do something about it.  Our text and chs. 12-14 give us some more of the answer.  It gives us something of the scene in heaven and chs. 12-14 tell us about what will happen on this earth during this time.

To start, “loud voices” utter a bold statement:  “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.”   Some of you have Bible notes that tell you that the word “kingdoms” is actually singular, that is, the “kingdom of this world,” etc.  The voices aren’t referring to individual nations like the US or Canada, but the governance of the world, that is, mankind, itself.  We don’t often think about this.  It’s usually thought to be the province of fringe groups and conspiracy theorists, but Scripture tells us that it is so – not the theories of men, but the fact is that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.  It says the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, 1 John 5:19.  It says that even believers once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others, Ephesians 2:2, 3.

I’m glad Ephesians 2:3 isn’t the end of the story for us – “children of wrath, just as the others.”  If men wrote the rest of the story, it would be something like, “but we turned over a new leaf and began to live right, and we all lived happily ever after.”

That’s not what it says.  It says –

But God….

“But God….”

Those words occur elsewhere in Scripture.  I leave it to you to find them.  It’s a rich study.

You see, contrary to much of modern thought, we didn’t take the first step toward God.  He took the first step toward us, though that’s really a terribly inadequate way to put it.  We were going the other direction.  If He hadn’t stopped us, we’d’ve kept on going to perdition.

Our text is a “but God” for this world.  Men might turn everything upside down: redefining marriage, redefining “male and female,” promoting wickedness and unbelief on every side, and nothing seems to be happening.  The heavens are silent. There is coming a time, however, when He will step in and it will be obvious that He has.

God has always been in charge, though it may not seem like it, and men question the idea.  He’s always been supervising and superintending what goes on on this ball of dirt.  It just isn’t always apparent, though the results of our transgressions are evident: poverty, violence, political and social unrest.  When the seventh trumpet sounds, it will signal the beginning of His obvious rule.

V. 18 describes this time.

1. It will be a time of rebellion, the nations were angry.  When God steps in and cuts out all the immorality and wickedness of this world, folks aren’t going to like it.  We see something of this in the “marches” and rioting and uproar that happens at even the mention of curtailing some of these things.

2. It will be a time of recompense, the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints.

Scripture tells us that there will be several judgments, not just a “final judgment,” which some say is what is mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15.

a. There will be a judgment of the nation of Israel.  In Ezekiel 20:33-37, God said to Israel, “As I live,” says the LORD God, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.  Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord God.
“I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”

Then v. 40 says that those who do make it into the land, every one of them, will serve the Lord.  This is what Paul was writing about in Romans 11:26.  And, by the way, these are the “brethren” of whom the Lord speaks in Matthew 25, to which we now turn.

b. There will be a judgment of nations, Matthew 25:31-46.  After the Lord’s return to this earth, He’s going to gather the nations together – there won’t be that many  people left after all the judgments of the Tribulation Period.  They will be divided into “sheep” and “goat” nations simply on the basis of how they have treated the Lord’s brethren, vs. 37, 45.  This has nothing to do with the homeless and disadvantaged, as those who think the Gospel is about nothing but social issues claim.  We have responsibilities toward these, to be sure, but that’s not the issue in Matthew 25.  The issue will be how nations have treated the Jewish people during the seventieth week, the Tribulation Period.

c. There will be a judgment of believers.

I Corinthians 3:11-15:  For other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has build on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

This has nothing to do with salvation, as the last verse tells us, but of reward or loss for our life’s work.  Contrary to the gospel saying, “every work for Jesus” will not be blessed.  There’s a great deal done in Christian circles “to be seen of men.”  Our Lord said that such already have their reward, Matthew 6:2, 5.  John was concerned about this.  He wrote that we should be careful, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward, 2 John 8, emphasis added.  There will be some who enter heaven with nothing but the clothes on their back, so to speak, their lives having been reduced to ashes.  That is a sobering thought in these frivolous and superficial times.

d. There will be a judgment of unbelievers, Revelation 20:11-15.

This will be a judgment of “works,” of how the life was lived, but the determining factor will be whether or not a person’s name is written in the Book of Life.  We’ll have much more to say about this later.

Evolution tells us that billions of years have passed, and billions will likely yet pass before the sun either flames out or burns out and life will be done on this planet.  Nice how they always put this way out there where no one who listens to them today will be around to prove or disprove it.  Kind of like what they do with our beginnings.  Nothing is going on now, it was all billions or millions of years ago, so that even though we can’t duplicate it today, that’s how it happened.

No one knows when the things spoken of in Revelation will happen.  Our Lord may come back before I get done typing this post.  He may not return for several generations.  Only He knows.

It really doesn’t matter.   Whether today, tomorrow, next year, or next century, the point is, we will all stand in His presence.  Only those who have received Him as Savior will enter heaven.  He Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except by Me,” John 14:6, emphasis added.  The world may think that “all roads lead to heaven,” but our Lord says that’s a lie.  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, Acts 16:31.

Revelation 4, There Is A God In Heaven

Revelation 4:1-11, After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.  And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.  And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne in appearance like an emerald.  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.  And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.  Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.  And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.  The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.  The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.  And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.” (NKJV)

John has given us a view of seven churches of his time.  Perhaps, perhaps not, they also foreshadow the history of the church in general.  Regardless, in the ebb and flow of church or national history, the rise and fall of cities, nations, kingdoms, or empires, he now points us to one throne that is eternal.  We look back on far more history than Daniel did, and see the rise and fall of many nations, kingdoms and empires yet future to his time, yet he, too, saw the rise and fall of nations under Nebuchadnezzar, and he points out the one central fact of existence.  In the words of Daniel 2:28, “There is a God in heaven.”  And, further, Daniel 5:26, “His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed.”

As we get into the chapter, note what the “voice” said to John, “I will show you things which must take place after this,” v. 1.  “Things,” not “principles,” not “processes.”  Not even just “generalities.”  Things.  Events.  True, there is a lot of discussion about this, but it’s my view that Revelation is the disclosure of history before it happens.  Actual, verifiable history.  Events future to our time which people will be able to point to in the book and say, “See.  This is what is happening.”  We’ll get into this later, Lord willing.

The first thing John saw was a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne, v. 2.

This is where every worldview, every way of thinking about life, without exception, begins.  What do you think of this One who sits on the throne?  Even those who flatly reject Him, or don’t know of Him at all, or worship other gods, live their lives in view of an answer to this question, though they may never actually come into contact with the question.

There are several such incidents in Scripture, beginning with Genesis where Adam and Eve enjoy fellowship with God in the cool of the day, though this soon came to an end when they concluded they could decide for themselves what was “good” and what was “evil”.  In Exodus 24:9,10, after the giving of the Law and Israel’s agreeing to keep it, though they had no idea what they were getting into, we read that Moses, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy elders of the people, climbed Mt. Sinai and they saw the God of Israel.  This, too, never happened again because Israel very quickly broke her promise.

There are other such incidents, but perhaps my favorite is found in Ezekiel 1:25-30, where Ezekiel describes his vision of the likeness of a throne and goes on to describe a little of what he saw, ending with this:  like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud in a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

“Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud in a rainy day.”

Have you ever seen a rainbow?

Really seen one?

I used to drive for a living and one of my vehicles was a well-used 1982 Dodge van.  One day, it rained.  As the storm passed and the sun began to break through the clouds, there was a rainbow.  Not like the ones you see on the horizon, this one looked like it came out the hood of that old beater.  It was right there, two feet in front of me.  I can’t even begin to describe it.  It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

That’s how Ezekiel saw the glory of God.

That’s how John saw the glory of God, with a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.  This is different from the 7-color rainbows we see.  It had just one color, a glorious color “like an emerald.”

As I look out the window, I see the drabness of winter, with just a leaf or two here and there clinging to a branch, defying the pull of gravity.  Soon, though, we’ll begin to see green, just a tinge at first, but it tells us that spring is coming, that life will triumph.

Perhaps John is telling us that here he is seeing life at its most triumphant, in the presence and glory of God.

But he sees something else, as well.  Leaving aside much of the description of what John saw, and the description of the “living creatures,” John tells us of “twenty-four elders” who sit on thrones around the central throne.

Who are these “elders”?  There’s a lot of discussion about this.  My own view is that they represent the redeemed of Israel and the church.  I believe this is borne out by the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, which has twelve gates, named after the tribes of Israel, and twelve foundations, named after the twelve apostles.  This tells me that, no matter how they may be united in the future, Israel and the church will never lose their distinct and separate identities.

What are these elders doing?  Vs, 10, 11 tell us:

…the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

This is probably as good a place to end this year as chapter 5 is to start the new year.  It takes us back to the beginning and tells us that we’re not here just as the result of some mindless, random, meaningless cosmic explosion.  Strange, isn’t it, that “science” is willing to believe that that’s how it all started, in spite of the fact that no one has ever been able to create anything by blowing nothing up and making something out of it.  They do tell us that there was this tiny amount of matter, and that’s what blew up, but they never really deal with where that came from.  They never really deal with “origins.”   It seems to me that it takes a great deal more “faith,” though of a different kind, to believe as they do than it does to believe –

In the beginning God created…. 

So, as we ring out the old year in a few days and bring in the new, let this be the confidence in which we rest, the hope that we cling to.  Regardless of what the new year brings, let this be our firm foundation:

There is a God in heaven.

Hebrews 1:10-14: Made Higher Than the Angels, part 3.

Perhaps you are wondering why in the world we have spent so much time on this subject.  Well, the writer of Hebrews did.  We believe he was guided by the Holy Spirit.  What he wrote, therefore, is important.  Beyond that, though, there are other reasons.  There are at least two religions in this world, both of which teach falsehood about the Lord Jesus, which claim angels brought the revelation to their founder.

There are many people who look to angels, or spirits, or whatever – horoscopes and such – to guide their daily lives.  Besides that, there are many things, even in church,which draw our attention away from the Lord.  Recently, I saw a facebook post in which someone wanted folks to mention their church and pastor if they thought he was a great pastor.  I understand that.  At the same time, how about a church with a great Savior?

During the days of Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, it was a common practice to “church-hop.”  That is, because there were many great preachers in London at the time, some folks would go from church to church to “sermon-taste.”  It’s said that when folks left these other churches, they would say, “What a great sermon,” but when they left Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon’s church, they would say, “What a great Savior.”

That’s what we need, folks –

A great Savior.

Because we are great sinners.

The Bible tells us of that great Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our previous posts, we’ve looked at the writer’s arguments proving the Lord’s superiority over angels.  These involved His person and His position.  This last post on ch.1 will focus on the final two evidences of that superiority.

1.  His Power, 1:10-12.

As we look at these verses, we are reminded about how much the Bible deals with origins and outcomes, and how little really it deals with what goes on in between.  It doesn’t ignore that, certainly, but it reminds us that this world isn’t all there is and that what we can see isn’t all there is.  Verses like Romans 8:27-30 and Ephesians 1 and 2, especially 1:3-12, 21; 2:7, emphasize more what God does than what we do.

The three verses in the title of our post encompass the entire history of creation.  Perhaps this is to remind us of the brevity of our own lives and the speed with which it goes by.  I’ll soon be 75, Lord willing, and I’m kind of taken aback when I remember something in the past and realize that it happened 50 or 60 years ago!  So long a time ago, and yet it seems so short!

The Past, v. 10, “You, LORD, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.”   This is a quote from Psalm 102:25-27.  The Psalmist wrote this praise to Jehovah, or the Father.  The writer to Hebrews directs the Psalm to Jesus, the Son.  Another, incidental, proof of the deity of the Lord Jesus.  No faithful Hebrew could ever have done this if Jesus were not truly God.

The verse contrasts the Lord Jesus with His creation, and shows His greatness.  His is the workmanship behind everything, perfect workmanship, whether seen through microscope or telescope.

How long ago was “the beginning”?  Only God knows for sure, but likely not as long as we’re commonly told.  The only reason to believe that it happened billions of years ago is to allow for the time required by the theory of evolution.  There have been those who’ve tried to figure out when the beginning was by looking at the chronologies in the Bible.  The KJV of my youth had a note that Genesis 1:1 happened in 4004 B.C.  The difficulty with that is that the Bible was never given to establish a chronological time-line, but to establish connection between us and Adam.  I have no difficulty with the idea that the earth is more than 6,000 years old.  I just don’t think that it’s billions of years old.

Belief in evolution and the belief in creation are the viewpoints of two opposing religious systems, one which says that man is the creation of God and one which says that “god” is the creation of man.

Whenever the beginning was, the Lord Jesus was there.

The Present, v. 11, “They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment.”  The contrast is again between creation and its Creator.  Creation is perishing, wearing out, passing away, 1 Corinthians 7:31.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics also tells us this.  Our planet, like some old clothes, is wearing out, and all the “patching up” we can do isn’t going to stop it.

The Future, v. 12,  “Like a cloak, You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”   This picturesque verse shows the tremendous power of the Creator, the Lord Jesus.  One day, He will fold the universe up like a worn-out piece of clothing and replace it, 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:11; 21:1.  How foolish we are to act as if this world, this life, will last forever.

2.  His Promise, 1:13, 14.

But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?”

 Certainly, no mere angel ever had such a promise made to it.  There’s a lot of discussion about what these verses mean, as well as other verses which deal with the Second Coming, but surely it may be noted that the time is coming, and we believe very soon, when every knee shall bow, …and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” Philippians 2:10, 11.  “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”!

Angels only have a role of service, v. 14.  The Son is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

He has willing subjects.

Are we among them?

1%

With this 1%, I’m not writing about the supposed 1% who have all the wealth, as those who are trying to incite class envy and warfare allege, but in the “difference” in the DNA of humans and chimpanzees.  Just in passing, thinking about “wealth” and way off the mark, earlier today I read an article which pointed out, in the current agitation to increase the minimum wage, that the minimum wage was first imposed in 1938.  Guess how much it was….

 

 

25 cents.

 

 

An hour.

 

 

But I digress.  As I wrote, “way off the mark.”

I’ve been watching an interesting series on Netflix which attempts to explain the inexplicable mysteries of the universe.  The narrator, Dr. Neil deGrass Tyson, does an excellent job of explaining science in a way that people like me who don’t have that kind of background can understand it.

According to Dr. Tyson, chimpanzees have 99% of the same DNA that humans have. I’ve heard other figures, but they are all in the high 90s.  Young chimps are able to figure out simple things, like stacking boxes to get to, say, a banana.  Perhaps they can be taught very simple sign language.  But they stop “developing,” if you will, and never advance beyond a very elementary point.  Dr. Tyson didn’t dwell on this, but wondered if there were aliens out there who were 1% smarter than we are and if they thought no more of us than we do of chimpanzees.  Just in passing, again, bananas are said to share 50% of the same DNA as humans.

What I wonder is, if chimps and humans are so close in their “programming,” which is basically what DNA is, why is there such a gulf between them?  If they’re only 1% dumber than we are, why isn’t that really evident?  There’s more to it than just the fact that chimps never learn anything more than very, very basic things – at least from our perspective.  They do very well as chimps.

The truth is, there is a vast difference between us and them, which begs the question, “Why?”

The answer is found in Scripture.  Now, Dr. deGrass is an evolutionist and casually dismisses the fact that early scientists like Newton believed in God, so he wouldn’t agree with this post.  He would also probably dismiss Genesis as any kind of a reliable account of origins.  It was interesting, though, that he does use the term “genesis” is referring to those origins.

Among other things, the early chapters of Genesis describe the creation of animate life, including mankind.  Genesis 1:21 and 25 record the creation of aquatic life, flying creatures and animals.  When Genesis gets to the creation of man, however, it says something quite different.  In the creation of all other life, there is nothing said about what God planned to do with it.  In the case of man, however, He said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;…,” Genesis 1:26.

Now this doesn’t mean, as some teach, that we’re “little gods.”  There’s no “divine spark” just waiting to fanned into a blaze by the right kind of education or environment or economic status.

What it means is that we’re not just advanced animals.  There is something about humans that isn’t true of animals.  This something is creativity, ingenuity, even spirituality.  So far as we can tell, no animal conceives of a “higher power.”  No animal has ever started a civilization or invented some new wonder of industry or technology.  Of course, they don’t destroy each other in the same wholesale way as humans do, either, but that’s another post.

There’s more to mankind that just the material.  We’re more than animated bodies.  We think and hope and dream and plan.  That “1%” involves so much more than just genetic differences.  It involves that which, no matter how corrupted and ruined by the Fall of Adam and Eve it has become and how far we try to get away from Him, that which God meant when He said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”

One day, through the Lord Jesus Christ, that purpose will come to complete and final fruition.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpses in Genesis: Creation and The Fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3.

This will by no means be an exhaustive look at Genesis.  That would take a whole library of books.  No, we’re just going to look at some interesting things along the way.  This study will take us up through the Fall of Adam and Eve.  Part 2, Lord willing, will cover the Flood and the Tower of Babel; part 3 will consider some things about the patriarchs, and maybe part 4.  I’m trying to make each post not too long.

Nor are we going to enter into the academic discussions about who wrote Genesis and the rest of the 5 books of the Pentateuch.  Our Lord accepted it and them from the hand of Moses, as did both Testaments in numerous references, Mark 12:26; Ezra 6:18; Romans 10:19.  That’s good enough for us!

As we come to the first chapters of Genesis, we find that it tells us where everything came from – not from some random cosmic explosion, but from the power and wisdom of God.  So Genesis is the book of origins.  It tells how the earth came to be, and where man came from.  It accounts for the entrance of sin into the world, and reveals that man is a moral being, different from all other earthly creatures, in contrast to evolution, which says that he came from them.  It gives us the beginning of the nation of Israel, as well as the origin and distribution of many of the rest of the nations of the world.

Genesis is also the foundational book of the Bible.  It tells of sin and redemption and forms the basis for most, if not all, the rest of divine revelation on these subjects.  It’s first redemptive prophecy contains in a single verse (3:15) the whole of prophecy given in the rest of Scripture.  It also gives a tremendous amount of vital information about the Abrahamic Promise, or Covenant, information which, it seems to me, is often overlooked in the interpretation of Scripture.

As to an outline, here are some ways Genesis might be outlined:

1.  The Beginning of Human History, chs. 1-12
2.  The Beginning of Hebrew History, chs. 12-50.

or

1.  The Beginning of Man’s Residence on the Earth, chs. 1, 2.
2.  The Beginning of Man’s Rebellion on the Earth, chs. 3-11.
3.  The Beginning of Man’s Redemption on the Earth, chs. 12-50.

or the more familiar:

1.  Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.
2.  The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.
3.  The Flood, chs. 6-9: Punishment of Man.
4.  The Tower of Babel, chs. 10, 11: Perversity of Man.
5.  The Patriarchs, chs. 12-50: Preference among Men.

As we look more closely at Genesis through this last outline, we note the following:

Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.

A. It refutes many errors, including:

1. Atheism.  “In the beginning, God….”  Note:  the Bible was written to people who believed in God, in many cases, had had personal dealings with Him.  The Bible never attempts to “prove” the existence of God, although there are “proofs” for those who will see them, Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20.

2.  Pantheism, that is, God is everything, and everything is God.  Scripture shows that while God is indeed the Creator and Sustainer of everything, He is separate and distinct from everything.  He IS everywhere, not every thing.

3.  Materialism, that is, matter is eternal and has always existed.  This still doesn’t answer the question, “Where did ‘matter’ come from in the first place?”

4.  That everything came unintentionally and spontaneously into existence, i.e., “the big bang.”

B.  Genesis reveals the origin of the universe and the earth, 1:1.  It doesn’t particularly tell how or why.  Theistic evolution, in a sincere but misguided attempt to align materialistic science with Scripture, doesn’t seem to see what Scripture says about the origin of this earth.  I have no difficulty believing that the earth is older than 6,000 years.  I just have trouble with the idea, as we shall see in a moment, that it’s billions of years old.

Herbert Spencer, a scientist who died in 1903, taught that everything exists in one of five categories: time, force, action, space or matter.  Moses knew that millennia before Spencer:

1.  time – “in the beginning”
2.  force – “God”
3.  action – “created”
4.  space – “the heavens”
5.  matter – “and the earth”

C. Genesis has many features which do not agree with “evolution”.  We’ve seen some.  Some more are:

1.  It has an intelligent Creator, not a mindless, cosmic catastrophe, followed by aimless and random development.

2.  The earth was created before the stars!  They were made on the fourth day.  Earth was already in existence.

3.  Plants were created before the Sun.  If the “days” are geologic ages, then how did the plants survive without the Sun to nourish them?

4.  On the first day, God created “light” as something apart from Himself, Who is light, 1 John 1:5.  On the fourth day, creating the Sun, He created “time.”  Our “time” would have no relevance anywhere else in the universe.

5.  Each kind of animal was created fully developed as it came from the hand of God.  It had no need for further “development,” other than adaptation to an environment that changed.  There are many instances of such development within species; there are none between species.

6.  Each creature was made with the ability to reproduce according to its kind, 1:11, 21, 24, not mutate into another kind.

7.  Sea creatures and birds were created on the same day.  Birds did not somehow evolve after or from dinosaurs or amphibians.

8.  In a separate act, man was created from the dust of the ground, 2:8.  He did not “evolve” from “lower” life forms, nor did God simply choose one or two from a number of already existing hominids with which to develop a “special relationship.”

The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.

1.  Note that man fell because of a discussion over whether God’s Word was to be understood “literally”.  That discussion is still alive and well, especially in the area of prophecy.

2.  Note that man fell because he decided to replace God as the moral authority as to what was “good” or “evil”.  The essence of sin is the disagreement with God over jurisdiction: who decides what is “good” or “evil”?

3.  Because of his sin, man fled from God.  We are still fleeing, left to ourselves.  Man may be “religious”; witness the number of religions in the world, but how many of them, even those who claim to believe the Bible, actually follow the Bible, or believe it’s authoritative, or  even read it and have any real idea of what it says?  God must seek us, if we are to “find” Him, Isaiah 65:1.

4.  Man was taught that because of his sin the only way he could continue to live physically was through the substitution and death of an innocent sacrifice.  All religion revolves around this central issue:  how can a man or woman live before God, regardless of how “live” is defined, and whomever or whatever “God” is believed to be.

5.  Because of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, God’s justice bars the way to the tree of life, Genesis 3:24.  All religion seeks to answer the questions posed very early in human history, “how can man be righteous before God?”  “…Or how can he be pure who is born of woman?” Job 9:2; 25:4.

To put it another way, how can I satisfy God’s justice and the obedience His Word requires, or endure the penalty for disobedience that is required (which, by the way, is infinitely more than the mere rote repetition of some form prayer!)?  It is only Biblical Christianity (for there is a great deal in “Christianity” which has nothing to do with the Bible) that proclaims the answer foreshadowed and typified by the slain animals and coats of skin.  The only way God’s justice has ever been and ever will be satisfied is through the sinless life and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His death He paid forever the penalty demanded by a broken Law, and by His sinless life He obtained that righteousness imputed to believing sinners, by which and only by which we and they are able to stand before God uncondemned.

Friends, if we have ever committed even one sin, and who among us would not admit to that, though our sins are without number, we are lost and undone without the Lord Jesus!  O blessed life, that did what we could not, and blessed death, that did what we dare not!