Creation Covenant; Innocence
God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #07
April 29, 2014
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path", Proverbs 3:5-6. "They that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint," Isaiah 40:31. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness," Isaiah 41:10. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall defend your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:6-7 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee," Isaiah 26:3. "For the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever," Isaiah 40:8.
After a few moments of silent prayer so you can make sure that you are in fellowship and ready to study the Word, I will open in prayer. Let's pray. Our Father, we are so very grateful for the fact that we can come to you and know that you hear our prayers. You answer us. Father, we are very distressed and concerned about our friends and missionaries in Ukraine. We pray for the Myers; we pray for those who are students and graduates of the school. We pray for Eger and Julia and the children. We pray for wisdom on their part. We pray for their courage in the face of opposition. We are praying for them in terms of their physical and material needs as the economics deteriorate. And Father, we pray that we might do whatever we can in looking for ways to help them, most importantly Eger says just to pray. And so we pray and we know that if You are for us who can be against us. Father, we also pray for us and our nation that we might be mindful of the fact that we have a runoff election coming up. It is important for us to be involved. It is important for us to be aware of the issues. Father, we pray for our nation that there might be a turnaround this year. We pray that You will hold back the forces of evil and restrain them; that would seek to destroy the freedoms of this nation; and that You would restrain those who are in positions of power from carrying out their nefarious schemes. Father, we pray for us that we might be faithful students of Your Word and that we might come to internalize it and make it apart of our everyday thinking and understanding; we pray in Christ's Name, Amen.
We are continuing our study on Dispensations, God's Plan for the Ages, and we are going to begin looking tonight at the first dispensation, the first covenant, which I call the Creation Covenant. It is usually referred to by the nomenclature that Scofield gave it, which is the Edenic Covenant, but we will begin with that. We looked at the covenants (see slide #3.) We saw that there are three Gentile covenants, two of which are basically modifications of that original or Edenic or Creation Covenant. Each time there is a deterioration of the human race as a result of sin there is a modification of the first covenant that occurs in Genesis 3, that is the Edenic Covenant; then everything just deteriorates to the point where God observes that man's thoughts are evil continuously. So He judges the human race with the worldwide flood; and then He makes a new covenant, a revision of the previous covenant with Noah. There is a failure at the tower of Babel; the Noahic Covenant continues in effect, but God determines to work through a new group, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The promise is given to Abraham; that God is giving Him a piece of real estate, the land promise, which is expanded later on; the seed and that they will be a worldwide blessing. These are eternal unconditional covenants and they are not ever taken away from the Jewish people. The one covenant that is conditional or temporary is the Mosaic Covenant.
Last time we looked at the fact that as you look through history there are basically four ages (see slide #4):
1. From Creation there is the Age of the Gentiles, which ends with the call of Abraham. That includes three dispensations: the Dispensation of Innocence, Conscience, and Human Government ending after the Tower of Babel.
2. With the call of Abraham we have the Age of Israel; this ends at the Cross.
3. Then we have the Church Age that begins on the Day of Pentecost and ends at the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation at the Battle of Armageddon.
4. Then He establishes His Kingdom, the Messianic Age, for a thousand years and then there will be a judgment, the New Heavens and the New Earth are created and then we go into Eternity Future.
So that gives us the broad overview. We are looking at the details of the first dispensation in the Age of the Gentiles.
Last time I started talking about the angelic conflict. It is important that we relate human history to what happened with the angels. God originally created angelic beings. He created an earth with the angels. He created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1 (see slide #5.) It was a space, as I pointed out last time, this is just an empty space and there is the heavens and then there is the earth; the earth that described as the Eden Garden of God in Ezekiel 28. It is the original earth of Genesis 1:1 and it comes under judgment when Lucifer falls and God packs the earth, well actually, He turns all the lights off and because it is in absolute darkness, there is no heat, everything is packed in ice and this is the result of the fall of Lucifer. Then God describes the earth as "without form," tohu wabohu, "without form and void" in Genesis 1:2. "Darkness is on the face of the deep," three terms that all reverberate with a very negative connotation in most of Scripture. Something has happened in that original creation. And then there is a restoration. This is directly connected to the Angelic Conflict. The Fall of Satan is described in passages such as Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.
During the Creation week it is technically a form of restoration but there is original creation that takes place during that time as well including the creation of the human race (see slide #7.) So we can graph it out a different way: there is the original creation, then there is a judgment on Satan and the fallen angels described in Genesis 1:1-2, but there is restoration that begins there as the Holy Spirit moves on the face of the deep. During this gap, there was a view called the Gap View, which you will often hear mentioned and actually the fact that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 is a very ancient view. It is expressed even in a Targum of Jonathan back in the 2nd century AD but they did not have a long period of time there. In the early 1800s a man by the name of Thomas Chalmers, which was one of the foremost theologians in the Scottish Presbyterian Church, decided that the best way to resolve the apparent conflict of time between historic geology that was developing since the mid-1700s and the timeframe of the Bible, which at that time was very short.
At that time they were thinking the earth wasn't 5,000-6,000 years old like the Bible said, but more like 40,000-60,000 years; so they weren't squeezing a huge number of years in here. Not like today when they want to cram billions of years in here. So they said well, this is when fossils were formed; this is when all these things took place. Well fossils are the result of death and death doesn't come until after Adam's Fall. You don't have dead as the penalty of Satan. You have spiritual death, but not physical death. Physical death and all of its forms in the animal kingdom are the result of human sin, which occurs in Genesis 3. So the idea that there are fossils, stratification, all of these things aren't the result of a judgment that occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, but the result of the worldwide flood at the time of Noah.
It is interesting that not all but many people who held to a Gap View also held to a limited flood view. See you do not need a worldwide flood to explain geology if you all explain it by this supposed Gap that occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. But if Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 doesn't support this kind of Gap then what happens? Furthermore, if all the stratification and fossils were formed in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 then there would be nothing in the geologic record of what is clearly presented as a worldwide flood in Genesis 6. The whole idea of what is called the long, traditional, or older Gap View some people put a pre-Adamic race in there to explain the Neanderthals and other Stone Age type peoples, all of these things. That was just a way of trying to assimilate to evolution.
Then after Genesis 1:2 you have the restoration, 7 days, in preparation for the new king of the earth who is Adam. He is the representative of God. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, these are passages we looked at last time (see slides #10-14); we are not going to look at today, that deal with the Fall of Satan. And there is the creation of the Lake of Fire as indicated in Matthew 25:41 (see slide #14) that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. It is a perfect tense verb indicating completed action. So if God has already prepared the Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels, why didn't He send them there? That is the question. The answer has to be taken as a result of inference from Scripture and looking at something that explains the different pieces of data that we have related to the role of the angels in history. So this is the doctrine of the Angelic Conflict. Apparently what happened is that Satan raised an objection; that is why he is called Satan. He is the accuser; he is presented like a prosecutor against God claiming that God has done something that violated His integrity.
Now here is a chart (see slide #15) to demonstrate or to focus on His integrity. The ten attributes of God that we talk about are in the background in the Essence Box, His Sovereignty, Righteousness, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Immutability, and Veracity. But integrity focuses on His Righteousness. He is Righteous and Just. He is True; He isn't the Source of Truth; He is Truth itself and He is Love. These are statements that are clearly made in Scripture. God is Love; God is Truth; God is Holy; these are clear statements from Scripture. So the issue in history as we see is the Integrity of God. Lucifer challenged that Integrity thinking he could be greater than God. And then he challenged God's punishment saying that it was unrighteous or unjust; claiming that the God who was really Love could not send His creatures to a lake of fire; that if He was truly loving it wouldn't be an eternal condemnation and that the penalty should fit the crime and it doesn't.
So God is going to set up an experiment. One of the reasons you conduct experiments is not to find out what will happen, but to demonstrate a known truth. That is one of the meanings of an experiment. So what God is demonstrating through human history is that the creature cannot survive without total dependence on the Creator. The most minor infraction leads to chaos and collapse. That is what is demonstrated in the Fall of Adam when they ate a piece of fruit, a very innocuous action, then it caused all of the horrors, all of the death, all of the suffering, all of the droughts and poverty and misery that we see. It is all a result of human disobedience to God and God is demonstrating His Grace; He has a solution to solve that problem.
So the human race is created to demonstrate the fallacy of Satan's contention by demonstrating the fallacy of that contention it vindicates, which means to demonstrate the truth of something; it vindicates the Character of God. It proves that God is truly Righteous and Just. That was a question that was asked online two or three weeks ago and I came to a conclusion at the end of the class last time. But this is what sets it up: understanding that God is demonstrating in history that He is Righteous and He is Just. And so this is demonstrated in the way in which He allows human volition to act in history; demonstrating that when the creature chooses to disobey God the result is chaos, confusion, misery and despair. And when man walks in dependence upon God then there is hope; there is love; there is peace and a solution to the problems of man.
So the things that are emphasized because of the angelic conflict are the importance of man orienting to the authority of God in trust, in confidence, in contrast to Satan who disobeyed God. That puts authority, which we have been studying on Thursday night in Romans 13. That is why authority is stressed so much in Scripture and authority orientation is stressed so much throughout the Scripture. So this sets up our understanding of the role of angels. We will point that out as we go through the dispensations. There are things that happen within each dispensation that are related to this angelic conflict. So God vindicates or exonerates (see slide #16), approves the truth of His Character throughout human history. In each dispensation He puts His Love and His Righteousness and His Justice on display for everyone to see. He does this by extending a grace salvation to undeserving sinners.
No one deserves to be saved. You are a nice person. You've got a great personality. People love you. But you do not deserve to be saved. You violated the Righteousness of God. I violated the Righteousness of God. If we got what we deserved, we would all be in the Lake of Fire. Grace means we have an opportunity to change that destiny. We have an opportunity to not work for it but to trust in the salvation that God provided freely because we could never earn it or deserve it; so that we could be saved. Through His plan His Righteousness and Justice are satisfied by Christ's work on the Cross so that because His Righteousness and Justice are satisfied He can then freely bless human beings. Then we see that the extent of eternal punishment is shown to be Just because of the horrific consequences of sin in human history. For 6,000 years we have seen these horrible things that have happened because of sin. What God is showing is that this is all the result of this one simple act of disobedience.
So that gives us a framework for understanding what happens because near the beginning of the very first dispensation or actually what ends the first dispensation, we see this creature show up; a beautiful creature that seems very wise and has a very endearing quality and an ability to convince the woman to eat of the fruit that has been prohibited, the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And so the understanding of who this creature is fits back to understanding this angelic conflict and that this is Satan who is looking on this new creature, who is to be the representative of God, and the recipient of His grace and all of His blessings. Satan wants to foil God's plan and to destroy it not knowing that whatever happens it is going to demonstrate and vindicate the justice of God.
So we are going to have the first dispensation and it begins with a covenant (see slide #17.) And so we have the next major topic: the Edenic Covenant or the Creation Covenant. The Scripture for this is found in Genesis 1:28-30 and Genesis 2:15-17 and then Hosea 6:7. Now some people challenge whether this is actually a covenant. So what I want to do is demonstrate that this is a covenant. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, what is it? It is a duck. This is a covenant because it has all the characteristics of a covenant and there is one passage that refers to it as a covenant, which I will show you. But this is one of those things that scholars get all wrapped around the axle on because the word covenant is not actually used until you get to Genesis 9. Once you get into the flood event, which is the first mention of the word "covenant"; I think it is actually used in Genesis 6 in relation to Noah; that God would make His covenant with him. But that is the first time it is mentioned, so neither Genesis 1 or Genesis 3 are identified as covenants. But I will show you that if it looks like a duck or quacks like a duck; if it looks like a duck and quacks like and walks like a duck then it has got to be a duck. So these have to be covenants and I'll demonstrate that.
What you have in a covenant is that you have commands; you have stipulations; you have responsibilities that are spelled out. And what is called a Royal Grant Covenant, because this does not involve sin on the human race yet, it is more akin to a Royal Grant Covenant. What happens is that the Sovereign or the King grants or gives something to a subject. But in the process, He also is going to give responsibilities to that subject so that he will enjoy the blessings that are being freely given to him. Now in Genesis 1:28-30 (see slide #18) we have several commands that are laid out, all of these are in Genesis 1:28; there are five:
1. They are told to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea." This is the mission statement given to the human race. They are created in the image and likeness of God as God said in Genesis 1:27. They are created in the image and likeness of God, which means they are to be representatives of God.
They (the first man and woman) are made like a finite representation of God. They represent His Essences not in an infinite sense, but in a finite sense, and they are to rule over the Creation. Now this is not a politically correct verse; in fact, this is one of the most despised and hated verses by Greenies (that is, by environmentalists) in all of the Bible. As far as they are concerned this is the marching orders to spoil and destroy the planet. But this is given to man in perfection and man's responsibility is to take care of the planet, not to despoil the planet; not to abuse it but to responsibly use the resources that God has given to him. So he is to live on the planet; he is to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth.
This runs against the anti-population people who want to limit the growth of the human race and think that we are over-populated. You fly over places like this last week: I flew up to Lubbock TX to teach on Friday night and Saturday morning, and flying over the Texas Panhandle, boy is it dry and barren up there. My goodness, I am afraid that we are on the verge of a dust bowl. Lubbock has already drained one reservoir; they are down quite a bit on another reservoir. I talked to a buddy of mine today in Abilene and they have only got 11% of water left in the main reservoir for Abilene and several other reservoirs are down and the basic aquifers that are up in that area are all going down. This drought; we have had a break some and out on the gulf coast, but they have no break in six or seven years.
You probably don't know this because I don't talk about it much, but every year about this time I go fishing with an old friend of mine from college up in Abilene. We are probably not even going to go fishing this year because there is only one lake left in the area; and I am talking about within a two-hour drive of his house. So we are talking about within about a 140 miles from where he lives just south of Abilene. There is only about one lake left that has boat ramp that you can use to put the boat in the water. There is no relief. He said they have had about an inch and a half of rain in Abilene so far this year. Normally they have had six. This is what set up the dust bowl in the late 1920s. And with the economic situation in this country; California is in as bad a shape; this is extremely serious. So it looks like the area is over-populated. There is not enough water for everybody.
But God says we are to fill the earth and there are actually various facts. Somebody asks me, Andy Woods was flying up with me and he said, do you think we are over-populated? I said, well it was over-populated when the Comanches were there because the Comanches would just camp out in an area and would trash it and then as soon as it got all trashed they did not ever clean anything up; they just went to the next area. Over a period of a couple of hundred years that was trashing out the area; so it was getting over-populated with just the nomadic plains Indian tribes in the area. But once you had the advance of technology and the ability to drill wells and do other things, then that area could support a much larger population. So population density is directly related to technology and learning how to use the natural resources that God put in place in order to support the population. So man is supposed to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. That was their mission statement from the first day of creation.
2. Secondly they were to subdue the earth. The word for subdue means in the qal stem to bring something into bondage; to subdue something or force something into submission; to dominate it. In the piel it means to subdue something; in the hiphil, as it is here, it means to bring something into bondage. This is a terminology that is extremely strong and not politically correct. The human race is to properly control and dominate the planet. According to the environmentalists we are the enemy; we are not the friend of the planet. But God set us up to rule over and dominate everything which we have been learning to do all through the centuries. So this is the beginning, this is the command part of the covenant responsibilities; so the task is going to be related to these imperatives.
In Genesis 2:15 God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it. This terminology, "to cultivate and to keep" or "to guard and to keep" are from the Hebrew words lə'āḇəḏāh and shamar; shamar has the idea of watching over, guarding something; and lə'āḇəḏāh has the idea of serving God; so it is not just cultivating; it brings in this whole idea of serving God and working. It is related to the word for being a servant keeping it, guarding it; from what would it be guarded? What did they need to guard it from? I think there is an implication there that they needed to watch over the planet because there was an enemy and that enemy is going to be introduced in the third chapter. Only one prohibition and that is the prohibition not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; with a penalty that will come into effect immediately and that is spiritual death. Because they did not die for another 900 years physically it indicates that this penalty was a spiritual penalty.
Now, let me address the question related to is this a covenant? Is this actually a covenant? Hosea 6:7 (see slide #20) just the first part of the verse. There is a comparison made here. [The top verse is New King James Version (NKJV); the bottom verse is the New American Standard (NAS).] Notice the NKJV translates it "but like men" actually it would have been better if they had said "mankind" or the "human race." It is not talking about males in the plural; it is talking about the human race possibly. Hosea 6:7 translates it "like Adam" like the individual. In Hebrew the word adam is the word for "mankind" or it is the proper name for Adam. So the question here is: is this comparing then to mankind as a whole or is this a comparison to something Adam did in the Garden?
Now if you look at this verse, I want to point out a few things. There is a comparison with Adam; keAdam, the first syllable in Adam is the Hebrew preposition of comparison meaning "like" or "as." So there is a comparison to Adam; so Adam is the archetype and those who are being compared to the archetype are the "they." The "they" in the plural refers to Israel. This is in a section dealing with the condemnation of Israel. "But like Adam, they, the Israelites, transgressed" and then it is translated in most English versions, "the covenant." But Hebrew doesn't have a definite article in front of the noun berit there for "covenant." Now that is really important. If "like men they transgressed the covenant" so there is a comparison there. If there is an article there then it would be "that mankind transgressed a covenant, the covenant" and the Israelites also transgressed the same covenant. If the article is there it is only talking about one covenant.
That is really important. It is saying that Adam transgressed that covenant and the Israelites also transgressed that covenant. But there is no article there. It is just a noun. It could be "a covenant" and so there is a comparison between Adam transgressing "a covenant" and Israel in the same way also transgressed "a covenant." The point of comparison is the transgression of "a covenant", not that it is the same covenant. And so that is important to identify because there is no covenant that both the Jews and the Gentiles were accountable to. The Gentiles were not accountable to the Mosaic Covenant, only Jews were. The covenant in question that they violated is the Mosaic Covenant. Gentiles, Adam, mankind, the human race, was never expected to obey the Mosaic Covenant; that was a covenant that was restricted only for Israel. So, it can't be mankind with the covenant. It completely voids or negates the interpretation that this isn't talking about Adam the individual.
Adam is the most likely understanding of this word, Adam. It is saying that Adam transgressed a covenant in the Garden; and just as Adam transgressed a covenant, so the Israelites have transgressed a covenant. Just as Adam came under divine judgment, so Israel is coming under divine judgment. That is the point of comparison. So Hosea 6:7, when it talks about transgressing a covenant here, is indicating that Adam transgressed a covenant. So even though covenant isn't mentioned, the word isn't used in Genesis 1, 2 or 3, that doesn't mean that there wasn't a covenant there. So it is very clearly that there was a covenant there. The covenant expresses the responsibilities of the steward. You also had that word that is used there, "to cultivate," which has to do with being a servant. And so cultivating has to do with being a servant; what is the role of a "steward" in a dispensation? To serve God.
This indicates that in that first dispensation, The Dispensation of Innocence (see slide #21), that there was a responsibility designated to the steward of that dispensation. So the covenant is given the penalty is stated in Genesis 2:17 of spiritual death. The instant they eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would immediately become spiritually dead. This means that they would have a separation from God. This is confirmed then when we look at the immediate results of what happens when God came to walk in the Garden with them; they ran and hid. Immediately after they ate from the fruit something changed. It didn't wait; it immediately took place.
Their eyes were opened in Genesis 2:7; they knew they were naked; they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves; and when they heard the sound of the LORD walking in the Garden they ran and hid because they were afraid. They hid from the presence of the LORD and the LORD said "where are you?" and they said "we heard the sound of You coming in the Garden and we were afraid." Well they had never been afraid before. So everything changed. As a result of that they were spiritually dead; and then God is going to lay down the consequences starting in Genesis 3.
Well let's just go through the basic points here in terms of the dispensation (see slide #22):
A. The time period that it covers is from Genesis 1:28-Genesis 3:7.
B. The central person is Adam; he is the responsible one. That doesn't mean that Eve or her decision is irrelevant; it doesn't mean she is a second class citizen; her role is to be an ezer, a helper for the man, remember. So she has a vital role. The only other person in Scripture that is really designed as a servant is God. That noun ezer is applied to God. We sang about this Sunday morning; hymn 2, "Here I Place My Ebenezer." It is "a stone of help" because God helped the Israelites in that battle. God is our ezer. So this is a very calling for Eve and for women. But Adam was the designated head of the human race, so that it was his decision that had the real consequence, not her's.
C. The Term for this dispensation is "Innocence" because it focuses on the fact that they were free from legal guilt. If we think about the angelic conflict; God tried the angels. He put Satan and the fallen angels, a third of the angels that followed him on trial; He rendered a verdict, eternity in the Lake of Fire. Satan appeals that verdict and says: You are not fair; You are not loving; You are not just. God says: hold on a minute; we won't throw you in the fire yet. We are going to demonstrate why I am just, righteous and loving. God chose to do that and so this in a sense would fit within a legal framework. That is why we talk about "salvation" in courtroom terms: righteousness, justice, imputation of righteousness, justification, confession of sin; all of these are legal terms. They come out of the courtroom; so the concept of calling this "Innocent" isn't a term referring to people who are naïve or people who are uninformed; it is referring to people whoa re not legally guilty, who are legally innocent of any guilt or any crime.
D. The Responsibility is to Guard and Keep the Garden and Not to Eat; to be fruitful and multiply…
E. The Test is to be Obedient and Not to Eat from the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
F. Their Failure is that they disobeyed. Eve ate first; as Adam would tell the boys later on, "Your mother ate us out of house and home." Eve ate first; Adam ate second. The old baseball joke: first met your baseball in the Bible; Eve ate first; Adam ate second; and the Prodigal Son came running home. Eve stole first; Adam stole second; and the Prodigal Son came running in home and Daniel got sent to the dugout. So that is Disobedience.
G. Result: Immediate Divine judgment of Spiritual death, Spiritual condemnation
H. And then we have Grace. Every dispensation there is a display of God's Love in Grace. Not only is He consistent with righteousness in condemning disobedience, but He also provides a solution out of His grace from His love. And the Grace is the promise of a Redeemer. This comes across in Genesis 3:15; the seed of the woman will provide redemption and defeat the seed of the serpent. So that the Gospel message is not, as a number of dispensational writers have said, this is where we are going to differ with some of the great fathers of dispensationalism; let's say: Ryrie, Chafer, Walvoord, some of those—by the way, Dr. Dwight Pentecost went to be with the Lord last night. I was thinking about that today.
Dr. Pentecost is well known. He wrote his doctoral dissertation and then published it. It was one of the first books that I really paid attention to when I would go into a pastor's library. It was a big thick book, about two and a half inches thick called Things to Come; it is just a great basic book dealing with dispensationalism and eschatology. He has had a remarkable career; he taught for over fifty years. He was still teaching classes at Dallas Seminary up until this semester. He just turned 99 years two days ago. I thought about that and I realized that when I first met Dr. P, he and his brother both taught on the faculty at Dallas; when I first met Dr. P he was my age. I thought he was an old man. I guess I am an old man. But he was great; he was wonderful! His wife died a number of years ago and he has lived in student housing down there; he was just everybody's grandpa for the last fifteen years or so. And he had throat cancer, still kept teaching into this semester and had to go in for some surgery; I guess that was just a little too much for him. He was in hospice care the last two or three days and went to be with the Lord last night. [He was] one of the great fathers of dispensationalism.
But the older dispensationalists, people like Bullinger, Clarence Larkin, probably going back to, I am not sure about Scofield, but some of the older ones, clearly believed there was more to the promise of a Redeemer than just a vague promise of salvation. But when you get into that middle era in the 20th century with Ryrie and Walvoord, Pentecost, it was more of a vague promise of salvation. But I think it is really clear with all Messianic promises in the Old Testament (OT) that it is more specific than that. In fact, Jim Myers and I talked about this for about ten or twelve years and he is working on a paper for publication. It is suppose to come out on how people in the OT were saved. A recent article came out in a journal by Walt Kaiser, and he argued for a much more specific understanding of the Gospel.
I called up Michael Rydelnik, and if you watched a video from Michael a few months ago from Pre-Tribulation (Conference); he has the Jewish Studies Department at Moody Bible Institute, and he has done a tremendous work on Messianic prophesies. I asked him the question, how do you think people in the OT were saved? He said, well, for many years I agreed with Walvoord and Pentecost that they just had sort of a vague sense; they believed the promise of God, nothing more specific than that. He said, but as a result of all the work I have done on the Messianic prophesies in the OT, I think that at the very least they had an understanding that God's promise that the seed of the woman would solve the problem of sin. They had to believe at least that much. How much more they understood we don't know. But they had to believe in that Messianic Redeemer Who was the Seed of the Woman Who would solve the problem of sin. So that begins, as you will see, when we get into Genesis 3:15.
So that is the first dispensation. It begins with the Creation Covenant, that is the new revelation that gives the test, the responsibility; we see the failure and then that ends the first dispensation of Innocence. As a result of that there is a new covenant that comes in. This covenant is really a modification. The last thing we will do before we finish tonight is I'll show you a comparison between the commands and circumstances of the first covenant, of the first two chapters of Genesis and the penalty, showing that there is this connection. The Adamic Covenant (see slide #23) is really the outline of the consequences of the judgment of sin. This is so important. Keep this in mind; the penalty for sin is spiritual death. Genesis 3 is not the penalty for sin. It is the consequences of the penalty for sin; because they are spiritually dead; because the earth has now come under corruption, Romans 8, "the earth is groaning" under corruption. Because of sin there are now consequences that reverberate through geology, through physics, through biology, all of these things change.
All the animals were supposed to be herbivores prior to the Fall. But now we have carnivores. There is a big difference between their dental structure, between their whole intestinal system, everything. There is a change. This is going to reverse when we get into the Millennial Kingdom because they are going to go back to eating grass. Remember the wolf and the lamb lie down together without the lamb lying in the wolf's belly. Today they lie down together, but one is inside the other one. That will change in the Millennial Kingdom. We are not going to have that, so there is a change. These changes are laid out in Genesis 3:14-19 (see slides #24-25); but the commands to be fruitful and multiply don't change; the commands to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth don't change. They are not repeated in Genesis 3 but they are repeated after the flood. So those commands are still in effect.
So here we see the consequences and they are spelled out in terms of three groups:
1. The serpent
2. The woman
3. The man
"So the LORD God said to the serpent" now this is a real serpent. It is a stream of thought with evangelicalism, going back to the Reformation including John Calvin, but they got it because they were learning Hebrew and bad theology from Rabbis in the Reformation; and that is that the serpent wasn't Satan. The serpent was just a snake. You'll find that today; in fact, there are several faculty members at Dallas Seminary who teach that. Revelation tells us know, this serpent "the dragon, the serpent of old," is the devil, Revelation 12:9; it is very clear. You get this near concept of exegesis today that dominates that oh you can't look beyond Genesis 3 to find the meaning of the terms in Genesis 3. People who are reading this between Adam and Noah didn't know anything about Revelation 12:9. So how would they know that this was the serpent? It is obvious; you read Hebrews 11, then you read other passages in the Bible. You know that these people in the OT knew a lot of stuff that we weren't told about, even in Genesis. We many be informed about it in Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham really understood the doctrine of resurrection. You can't get that out of Genesis 22, but he understood it. Just because Genesis doesn't tell us that they understood something doesn't mean that God did not reveal it to them and that they didn't know it.
So the serpent is addressed, God says that "because you have done this you are cursed more than all the cattle." That implies that the cattle are also cursed. See there is a comparison there. "You are cursed more than all the cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life." So see, all of a sudden his way of locomotion is changed. There is a physiological change that takes place in the serpent as there was a physiological change that took place the rest of the animal kingdom. There is going to be a dynamic in the relationship between the serpent and human beings as well. God says I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise you on the head." By the ways that verse that is referring to Satan as the serpent is Revelation 12:9. The serpent, between your seed and her Seed, He, that is the seed of the woman will bruise you on your head.
Now a head wound is a fatal wound. For many years I taught the head wound is a fatal wound; the hell wound isn't a fatal one. If you are bitten by a Cobra on the heel, a Black Mamba on the heel, you die! Okay, what is the issue here? The head is an authority figure, KEPHALE, all through the Scripture, the Greek word for "head" refers to authority, headship. So, what happens is between your seed, the devil's seed, and her Seed, the woman's Seed, He, that is the woman's Seed, will bruise you on the head. He is going to destroy your authority. Satan usurped authority from Adam in the Garden. Adam was set over creation as the authority. So that authority that Satan usurped is going to be destroyed by the Seed of the woman. And the statement "you shall bruise His heel" indicates death to Seed of the woman, but it did not keep Him down. You can't keep a good man down. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. And so, He dies, He dies on the Cross. He dies for our sins as a result of Satan's manipulations and his conspiracy, but that didn't end the story.
Genesis 3:15 is called the PROTEVANGELIUM. It is the first hint that God is going to solve the problem of sin through the Seed of the woman. Genesis 3:16 He addresses the woman. He says "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children." This indicates that now pain and everything associated with birth comes into effect at the Fall. Before that it wasn't going to have pain; it wasn't going to have all these other things. That is all the consequence of sin. We are going to see why in a minute. What was she commanded to do? To be fruitful and multiply; everything they are commanded to do in Genesis 1-2 now becomes difficult, challenging, because of sin; an obstacle is set in the way. So her childbearing is going to be difficult. "In pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband."
This is not the normal word for desire. This is the word teshuqa, which is used in Genesis 4 to describe the way in which sin wants to usurp authority over the persons being tempted. In Genesis 4:7 God said to Cain "if you do well will you not be accepted? and if you do not do well sin lies at the door." Like a crouching animal ready to pounce; "and its desire" teshuqa, same word, its teshuqa. Its desire is to control you and to dominate you; "For you shall rule over it," same words that are used here. Your desire is to control the husband, but he shall rule over you. The authority conflict in the marriage begins right here. It is because of the sin nature; because you have two people who are self-absorbed who think that the most important thing in the world is themselves. The husband is sitting there going, "It is all about me, me, me, me, me, me." And the wife says, "You are wrong; it is all about me; and until you say it is all about me too we are going to have a problem." That is what happens; that is why you have marital problems, because of the sin nature.
You can take two people who are sinners and it doesn't matter how wonderful they are; when they are each letting the sin nature control it is a miserable relationship. But it doesn't matter how horrible their personalities might be; it doesn't matter how bad their backgrounds might be, but if you have two people who are walking by the Spirit, they can accomplish things. They can love each other because the Holy Spirit is the dynamic. You get one person though that makes a decision to walk according to the sin nature and the other person wants to walk according to the Spirit; there is a word for it and it begins with "T" R-O-U-B-L-E, TROUBLE; and until they are both working in agreement it is going to be a problem. Now you can have a really happy marriage if both people have compatible old sin natures and they are both living according to their sin nature. They can have a lot of fun. Party, party, party all the time; they can have a lot of fun. It may glorify themselves; they won't glorify God; they won't have too many problems.
I always teach this when I am counseling with a couple who is going to get married. I say, have you seen the other person really in carnality for a while? If you have not seen that you do not know what you are in for; don't get married; don't even think about it until you see what the other person is like for a period of time, not just an hour or a minute, but for a period of time when they are just out of fellowship because if you cannot live with their sin nature you do not want to be married to them. If your sin natures aren't compatible, it is going to be miserable; because there is going to be times in every marriage when one person or the other one let's their sin nature get out of control; and when that happens, if you can't live with their sin nature you won't last. So I call it the doctrine of the compatibility of the old sin natures. I don't know of anybody else who teaches that. It is just a dose of reality.
So this is a situation, there is going to be a problem in the marriage. Then to Adam He says, "because you listened to the voice of your wife." Men, this does not mean that it is always wrong to listen to your wife; sometimes she is a lot smarter than you are. Sometimes she senses things that you don't; so sometimes it is just good humility and a good lesson to pay attention to your wife. "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree." Every man is going to call me tomorrow and really send me nasty emails; I know it. "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it'; Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it ALL the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.' "
So, what happens? What was the area of his responsibility? Tend, work and keep the Garden, abad, work and keep the Garden. He was to serve God by working the Garden. Now what is the garden going to do? Is the Garden going to help him? Before there was no problem, no weeds, no thistles, it didn't dry out. He didn't have to go out there and water the plants, water the tomato plants every morning like I do; I hate that. Every morning pull out the weeds; weed the garden, and every single day all summer long. It is the routine; you have got to do it. Adam didn't have to do that. There was nothing in the soil or in the garden that resisted what he was trying to do. It was so cooperative; it would just burst forth in blooms and in productivity. Now it has got thorns and thistles and you are going to earn your food by the sweat of your face, Genesis 3:19.
Okay, as I wrap-up let's look at the comparison and contrast between the Edenic Responsibility, what is laid out in the Creation Covenant and the Judgment, the Consequences (see slide #26):
• First of all they are commanded to "be fruitful and multiply"; what is the judgment? It won't be easy. There is going to be "pain in childbirth."
• In Eden the responsibility of the wife was to be an ezer, "to be a helper." Now what is she going to do? She wants to dominate and control; she wants to ware the pants in the family; she wants to run the show. She doesn't want to help him; he wants him to help her.
• They are responsible to subdue the earth. Now the earth is cursed. There are thorns and thistles and weeds and droughts and all kinds of problems. The earth is fighting back.
• They are to rule over the animals but now the animals are cursed and the animals are fighting back.
• Every plant was given for food, but now only the plants of the field are for food; there is a restriction now.
• They were to serve and guard in Eden, but now they are kicked out, no admittance; not only that but God surrounds Eden with an army of cherubs, plural word there; with flaming swords to keep them out. The flaming sword indicates a death penalty. You try to get in here again and that is going to be it.
• In Eden they were told not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and now they are spiritually dead and it will yield physical death.
So, this shows that there is a connection between this is a modification of the original covenant. There is a direct tie in between the positive commands of Genesis 1-2 and the negative consequences laid out in Genesis 3. So that ends the first dispensation and the first covenant and starts the second covenant; and then I think, I'll just take a minute because it doesn't take long. We'll just run through the basic description; did I get it in here? No, I didn't; no slide. Okay, I figured I'd stop here, so we won't get it. We will start with the Dispensation of Conscience or Self-Determination next time before we go on.
Father, thank you for this opportunity to look at these tings, to be reminded that You have a plan and purpose for history and that You have spelled these things out very clearly in Your Word. We have responsibilities; we also fail, but in the failure we also see Your Grace and Your Love as You provide the solution for sin. Father we pray that we might never forget to depend upon Your Grace; and we pray this in Christ's Name, Amen.
*Prayer Request: Situation in Kiev is really getting quite dangerous, quite out of hand. The Grivna, which is their currency, is in freefall; things are getting more and more expensive every single day because of the unsettled nature of things there. It is hard to get some goods, some food, and things of that nature. The gasoline prices are skyrocketing; natural gas prices would be skyrocketing, but spring and summer are coming so they do not need to heat their homes quite as much, so that is a good deal. I talked to Eger today. Igor is a former student of Jim Myers; he is now part of the pastoral staff at what is called the Christmas Church in Zhytomyr. He told me that according to his contacts in the police department in Zhytomyr, that what they are hearing is that Russian troops, nobody else is reporting this, Russian troops are massing on the Belarusian side of the border that is on the north. Usually all the talk that you hear is what is going on in the Far East. Hearing what was going on yesterday in Kharkov, the Jewish mayor was shot in the back. Maybe that was the day before; they had surgery yesterday; he is hanging on by a thread. Igor commented that he really wasn't a nice man; he wasn't a good leader or a good mayor. He originally was pro-Russia but now he is kind of switching sides. They think the pro-Russian forces shot him. He told me that in the cities of Luhansk and Donets and Kharkov they have prayer tents set up where the Christians are going down into the city center and praying. But the pro-Russian forces are coming down there, pointing their rifles at them and threatening them and intimidating them. Telling them they are going to kill them, all of these things, forcing them to scatter. So this is really getting bad. This is in the eastern part. This is not where Kiev is. Get out a map. Y'all should be getting maps out every day and looking and familiarizing yourselves with this geography because when WWIII breaks out centering on the Ukraine, you don't want to be like your grandparents or your parents wondering where in the world is Poland? Or when you were sitting there in high school going where is Viet Nam and trying to find it down in the Caribbean somewhere. So, be familiar with these places because this is going to be on the news quite a bit. So we need to be praying for them. There is going to be lots of opportunities to witness, lots of opportunities to pray and the evangelical churches are filled all the time for prayer meetings. Nobody is staying home. Everybody is showing up. More people are showing up for prayer meeting than anything else, but everybody is showing up all the time. It is too bad we have to wait for some kind of national crisis before people wake-up and start showing up at church. So, be in prayer for them.