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Conscience to Abrahamic Covenant
God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #08
May 6 , 2014
"How can a young man cleanse his way by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word," Psalm 119:9. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee," Psalm 119:11. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," Psalm 119:105. "Jesus prayed to the Father, to sanctify them in truth, Thy Word is truth," John 17:17. "For the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever," Isaiah 40:8.
Before we get started we will have a few moments of silent prayer so you can be spiritually prepared to study this evening and I will open in prayer. Let's pray. Father, we are so very grateful we can come together this evening. We are grateful we have the freedom in this country to still gather together and to proclaim Your Word, to teach the Truth of Your Word, to grow to spiritual maturity and have an impact on the environment around us, on people around us and on the government and on society. Father, we pray that we might not take the availability of Your Word or the teaching of Your Word for granted. You must understand how vital this is; that the time may indeed be very short that we have this freedom. We pray that we might utilize this time to the best of our ability. Now Father, we pray tonight that we might be able to focus and concentrate and understand the things that were studying and that we may come to a better understanding of how to interpret Your Word and understand it and apply it in our lives. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen.
We are going to continue the procedure we have had the last few lessons; although last time I got kind of caught up in what I was covering. We didn't stop for any questions. Did we have any questions left over from last time?
What we are covering in dispensations is one of the most helpful ways of understanding the Word and that is the testimony of numerous people who have studied through dispensations. Millions upon millions of people have had their understanding of the Word enlightened and clarified as they come to an understanding of dispensations. I would say the primary reason for that is related to the first of the key elements that we studied or the key characteristics of dispensationalism, and that is the principle of a consistent of a plain, consistent, literal understanding of the Scriptures. Because once you understand that and you are not trying to read the Bible and decode it and figure out what each word might mean or how people are seeing certain things in the Text; it begins to open up to us and we read it with a level of understanding that is pretty clear because it is what the words of the Text is saying.
Of course, as I have pointed out in the past, the second major characteristic is the understanding there is a distinction between Israel and the church and that is important because as we are going through these initial dispensations, which are part of the Old Testament (OT), the two ages of the OT.
1. First the Age of the Gentiles
2. The Age of Israel
We realize that the initial revelation given by God in Genesis through Malachi; that that was written to the Jewish people. Moses wrote the PENTATEUCH, the Torah, the first five books of the OT. He wrote those to give the Jewish people an understanding of why God called them out through their father, Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, and brought them to the place where He promised to give them a land. I think that tonight we'll probably get into the Abrahamic Covenant.
Starting in Genesis 12 that covenant (Abrahamic) gives us the framework for not only understanding history, understanding the rest of the OT. Only the first eleven chapters of Genesis really are focused on the Age of the Gentiles. So once we get past that we are really focused on something different. Realize that since that is written to Israel; it is not written to the church. It is like going and reading your next door neighbors mail. A lot of people unfortunately don't understand that. They read the OT as if it is addressed to them and that would be like going over and taking your neighbor's mortgage bill out of his mailbox bringing it home and thinking it was your mail and paying his mortgage bill. Well that is great for him, but it doesn't do anything for your finances or your spiritual life.
So we have to understand that there are those distinctions and that is essentially what a lot of people do. That doesn't mean that when you read the mail that is addressed to your neighbor that there aren't things that are similar and things that are important to you and things you can learn. When we read the OT it has application to us. That is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that these things are written as an example for us. So we are to be familiar with the OT. We are to know the OT because the OT is the framework in the background for understanding the New Testament (NT). You can't really get into the NT and understand the things, especially in the Gospels when Jesus is saying and teaching if you do not understand the background. His life is still lived within the Age of Israel. It is still lived under the Mosaic Law. As He said at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:15, "I came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it." So He fulfills the Law, but at the same time in His life He is setting a precedent for what will be coming in the future, which is the church age. So His life is sort of a hinge in the period of the dispensations and we will get into that when we get there.
1. So dispensations are important because it helps open up the Bible to us so we can understand it.
2. Secondly, as we look at this we understand that God's plan and purpose for mankind is related to something broader that happened at a cosmic level and what we refer to as the angelic conflict or the Satanic rebellion, which occurred in eternity past. Satan or Lucifer, the highest of all the angels that God had created, as Lucifer sinned by his pride, and wanting to be like God, and then God apparently convened a council of the angels and judged the angels, because in Matthew 25:41 we have the statement that the Lake of Fire has already been prepared for the Devil and his angels, indicating that some sort of judicial sentence had been pronounced and their place of execution has been created, but something was put on hold. Why was it put on hold?
I believe that we get a glimpse of that in various passages in the OT but mostly in the Book of Job. We will talk a little bit more about Job later on tonight. Job is, I believe, the first Book of the OT to be written. Moses wrote the PENTATEUCH by 1404 BC. He writes it during the forty years of the wilderness wanderings. I think he has material that was his; this is indicated by the toledothsections in the Book of Genesis, "these are the records of." I think he had records that were handed down from Adam and Noah and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he used that under the guidance and inspiration of God the Holy Spirit to write the PENTATEUCH. This becomes the message to Israel, but before he wrote that the events in the Book of Job were written. I believe they were probably written by Job himself and most scholars believe that Job probably took place somewhat about the same time, maybe a little before a little after, the events in the life of Abraham.
I think it is significant to understand that the first book that is written, if it is Job, focuses on understanding why there is suffering. Why there seems to be undeserved suffering and how that fits. It fits only when we understand it within the framework of this satanic challenge to God that occurs in Job 1. So by looking at dispensations we understand God's plan and purpose for history; that the plan and purpose for history fits within a broader conflict that began with Satan's rebellion against God. Then, when we start drilling down into certain periods of history we see that they have certain characteristics. Each one has different aspects or characteristics to the spiritual life of the individual believer and there are different circumstances in terms of God's provision for believers in terms of their life. There are different levels of revelation given.
I believe that what this demonstrates is God is showing through each of the dispensations that there are number of different ways which God can provide for mankind through grace. No matter which circumstance there, is going from almost nothing to almost everything in the Millennial Kingdom, there is still failure. In every dispensation the problem is volition. The problem is human choice just as it mirrors Satan's original volitional choice against God. This helps open up our understanding in Scripture.
So by way of review, we looked at the fact that it is through the covenants, especially the first four covenants:
1. Edenic or Creation Covenant
2. Adamic Covenant
3. Noahic Covenant
4. Abrahamic Covenant
God gives new revelation and this shifts the framework for human history; how God is administering history. That word "administration" from the Greek word OIKONOMIA is a word that was translated in older translations by that word "dispensation." It has to do with an administration or an economy. How God is overseeing or administering human history.
So we have the Gentile Covenants:
1. Edenic or Creation Covenant
2. Adamic Covenant
3. Noahic Covenant
They are very similar, as we have seen in our study so far, and the Noahic Covenant is the current covenant that governs all of human history and doesn't end until God destroys the present heavens and earth by fire at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Then after the failure of the human race at the Tower of Babel, God called out a specific individual; that it would be through him that God would bless the entire human race. That was the Abrahamic Covenant. It is summarized in Genesis 12:1-3, although the actual covenant itself is not given itself until Genesis 15 when you have the formal ratification of the covenant ceremony taking place. There are three elements to the Abrahamic Covenant: God's promise of a land, a seed and a worldwide blessing. Each of those elements are then further expanded in the real estate covenant, Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.
Now, let me say something here because one of the questions that came in that someone asked was "what about the covenant of works and the covenant of grace?" when talking about the covenants. We could add the covenant of redemption to that. Those are not biblical covenants. You can't find a Text where God gives a covenant of works, covenant of grace, or covenant of redemption. Those are theologically inferred covenants that are the foundation for what is known as "Covenant Theology," which was developed out of a "Reformed" tradition in the 17th century. They are not biblical covenants. In fact, I don't think the word "inferred" might now even be the right one. They were theologically "deduced," not deduced from Scripture. There is a difference here between taking Scriptural statements and making "deductions," theologically from Scriptural statements.
For example, you have the statement that "Jesus" is God; you have clear passages that teach that the "Holy Spirit" is God; you have clear passages that there is a third Person, God the "Father;" you put those three together and you can "deduce" from them the Doctrine of the Trinity. But your premises are grounded in Scripture; that is a scripturally based "deduction." Where as you can come to theological conclusions that are not necessarily scripturally grounded; and then you can on the basis of logic infer certain conclusions that are not necessarily scriptural. This is what happens when you develop an idealistic type of theology, which reform theology is guilt of; and then you come in and you read your system into the passage.
Covenant Theology is not the only system like that that is read into the Text. I think every theological system people have difficulty with that because once you come to certain conclusions about what you think the Bible says; then you have a tendency, we all do, to read that into other places in Scripture. That is called "deductive" theology and not "inductive" theology. Inductive theology reads the Text and derives its principles from the Text, not from a theologically consistent system that is then read into the Text.
An example of this was one time I made a statement in talking to Dr. John Walvoord who was the president of the Dallas Theological Seminary. I was visiting with him in his office about 1997 and I made a statement where I said that something was true because it was dispensational. He said, Robby, it is true because it is biblical and because it is biblical it is dispensational. Often people miss that; that is a fine argument but it is an important one. A lot of people will conclude that something is right because it is dispensational. No, it is right because it is biblical; understand, it is right because that is what the Bible says. Because it is right by what the Bible says, it fits into a dispensational theology.
So, these are the covenants that we are talking about and we have broken the history of man down into ages (see slide #4):
1. The first age starts with Creation; it is known as the Age of the Gentiles.
An age is a broad period that is subdivided into dispensations. The Age of the Gentiles ends with the call of Abraham in Genesis 12. Prior to that God is working through all the peoples on the earth; there is no distinction with a special group of people that God is working with and all are Gentiles. There is one race, one language up to the Tower of Babel.
2. And them, God called out Abram from the Ur of the Chaldees in Genesis 12:1 and from this point on God is going to work through a special people, through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the Age of Israel. It comprises the Dispensation of the Patriarchs, sometimes called the Dispensation of Promise and the Dispensation of the Law. It covers the period of Christ's humanity on the earth, the Messianic Dispensation, and then ends at the Cross.
3. The Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the crucifixion, we have the beginning of the Church Age. The Church Age ends with the rapture of the church.
4. Then there is the last Age of Israel, which is known as the Tribulation or Daniel's 70th Week. At the end of that 70th week Jesus Christ returns to the earth as the victor, the conquer who destroys the antichrist, the false prophet and casts the antichrist, and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire, Satan into the Abyss and establishes His kingdom on the earth, which will last a thousand years, known as the Messianic Age. This ends with the judgment. There will be a rebellion at the end, the Gog and Magog Rebellion; then the Judgment of the Great White Throne.
5. Then there is the New Heavens and New Earth and Eternity Future. That is the Framework for the Ages.
Now last time we covered the Adamic Covenant (see slides #5-7). The Adamic Covenant is a revision of the original Creation Covenant; just to review, God brings judgment, announcing consequences, because of spiritual death on the human race. Remember the penalty for sin was spiritual death. God said, Genesis 2:17, "In the day that you eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you will surely die." At that instant they came under a judicial penalty and they died spiritually, separated from God. God came to walk in the Garden and they ran and hid. They tried to cover themselves up with fig leaves and solve their problem on their own. That indicated that they were already spiritually dead. At that point God announced a curse. That curse is the consequence of spiritual death, the corruption that impacts all the spheres of Creation as a result of sin entering into the Creation. So it affected the animal kingdom; this is indicated through the announcement to the serpent, Genesis 3:14, "you are cursed more than all the cattle, and more than every beast of the field." That comparative there indicates that the beast of the field, the animals are all judged, but the serpent more so.
Then there is enmity that is put between the serpent and the woman and between Satan's seed and her seed. Her Seed is an allusion to the ultimate Redeemer, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman. So this, Genesis 3:15, is called the PROTOEVANGELIUM or the first mention of the Gospel in the OT indicating that the Seed of the woman will defeat the seed of the serpent. Redemption will come through the Seed of the woman. That is the basic Gospel message that people needed to believe in the OT. The woman is now going to have sorrow and pain in conception and she is going to have a desire to dominate her husband and he is going to have a desire to dominate her, Genesis 3:16.
The word for "rule" here indicates a domineering rule. This sets up the war of the sexes. She wants to wear the pants in the family and he does to and there is a fight. There is always going to be this fight over authority in the family when you have two sin natures that are running up against each other. The only way to reverse that is what is seen in Ephesians 5; is that the believing husband and the believing wife learn to properly orient themselves to the roles within marriage. The husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church and he is not to seek to rule over her, but to love her as Christ loved the church. And the wife is to submit to the husband as unto the Lord. When they are walking in their roles that are defined in Ephesians 5 under the principles of the sanctifying ministry of God the Holy Spirit, then this aspect, this consequence of sin can begin to be reversed in their lives as they grow spiritually. Adam is addressed in Genesis 3:17 and it is announced that his primary responsibility was to guard and keep the Garden, but now that area of responsibility, his area of labor, is now going to become a challenge to him and the ground will bring forth weeds, thistles and thorns and he is going to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, Genesis 3:18. Physical death is first mentioned at the end of Genesis 3:19, "for dust you are, and to dust you shall return."
I pointed this chart out last time (see slide Edenic Responsibility/Curse, Slide #8). I think this is a very important thing to realize in terms of understanding that what is defined and outlined in Genesis 3:15 and following is a modification of the original mandates to man given under the Creation Covenant. So man was initially told to be fruitful and multiply. The woman is now going to have difficulty doing that; there will be pain in childbirth. The woman was created to be an ezer, a helper to the man and now there is going to be an authority struggle. Man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God together to subdue the earth, but the earth is now cursed. It will bring forth thorns and thistles and weeds and there will be droughts and there will be global catastrophes; what is the new word? It is not global catastrophe is it? There was a new word that came out today; "disruption," "climate disruption" that is what it was. "Climate disruption;" we have got to keep up! Well, every time we show the problem with the current term then they come up with something new.
Man is to rule over the animals, but the animals are going to be cursed. Every plant was given for food initially, but then it is only the plants of the field. Each of these things that you see in that right column are going to have something modified or they are going to be restated in the Noahic Covenant, which we will study in just a minute. They were created to serve and guard the Garden of Eden but now they are
expelled and God sent an army of cherubim, plural. He set cherubim around the Garden with flaming swords. A sword always is a metaphor or always symbolizes the right to take life. And so, man is prohibited from entering the Garden on the pain of losing life. They were not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they ate and now they are spiritually dead, which will bring about physical death.
That brings us up now to the next dispensation (see slide #9). New revelation brings new responsibilities, a new test, and it will end in a failure related to that particular test. So we will just run through the issues related to this new dispensation, the dispensation is called the Dispensation of Conscience or Self-Determination. It covers the period from Genesis 3:9 to Genesis 8:14. Let's change that to Genesis 8:19. Genesis 8:14 is when they come off the ark, when God tells Noah to come out of the ark, but it really doesn't actually change until God begins to speak to them again in Genesis 8:20-21 when Noah builds the altar to the LORD. So we will take it through Genesis 8:19 and then Genesis 8:20 will start the next one.
The central person during this dispensation is Adam. The name of this dispensation is human conscience or self-determination. There is now authority higher than the patriarch or the family. There is no government.
I believe that there is some sort of judicial governance that proceeds from Eden; that God's presence in the form of His Spirit is still on the earth in Eden, His Garden. This is indicated by a verse in Genesis 6. In Genesis 6:3 the LORD said, and your translation will read, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever." The Hebrew word translated strive is a hapax legomenon, that is a Latin term meaning it is only used one time. This is the only time in Hebrew literature that this word is used. How do you figure out? That is a real fun investigative procedure. How do you figure out what a word means when you only have one use of it? Well in the ancient Near East you have a family of Semitic languages that are very, very close to one another. They sound similar; they are based on consonantal alphabets, like Arabic and Hebrew. They read from right to left. You had Ugaritic; you had Arcadian; you had Arabic; and by seeing the cognates or the same root and how it is used in these other languages, if the word is used more in other languages, in Arabic and Ugaritic and Arcadian, then you can discover what it means in Hebrew; what the range of meaning would be.
This particular word is attested in both Arcadian and Ugaritic and in those languages it has the meaning of "abiding" of "remaining," which makes a lot of sense here. God's Spirit; you could make a case for "strive" but you have to stretch it. Linguistically it doesn't fit at all. The best reading would be "My Spirit shall not abide with man forever." It is indicating that God's Spirit has been abiding during this dispensation and that draws a parallel with the last dispensation, which is the Millennial Kingdom when God's Son's presence will be on the earth. So you had a place on the Garden; remember, the Garden of Eden is still there through this entire time. Anybody who lived up until the Flood could go walk to the Garden of Eden and could see the Cherubim army surrounding the Garden of Eden preventing anybody from coming there. They did not go away just because Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden. They stayed there and the presence of the Garden was still there until it was destroyed in the Flood.
I believe that the reason you did not have human government on the earth is that when there were conflicts, ultimately this was brought to God, where it was adjudicated. During this time all you have is a limited amount of revelation that man is responsible. He is responsible to the Adamic Covenant, still to subdue and rule even though there is a conflict. The wife is subjected to her husband; they are to have faith in the promised Redeemer. The basic test then is: will man follow his conscience, which should be based upon the revelation that God had given them. There is no written law; there is no government; the only thing that man has is a conscience, which gives him absolute standards based on the revelation that had been given by God to Adam and Eve. This proves to be insufficient for man. It is self-governance. He can't govern himself. He can't control himself. Sin takes over.
This is what is indicated in the first story that we are told when Cain and Abel had their conflict and Cain brings his own idea of a good offering, which is from the fruit of the field. Abel brings an animal, animal sacrifice, according to the standards that I infer that God gave them when God clothed Adam and Eve with the garments of the animals; God had to kill the animals. God gave them a visual object lesson of what death was. They had no idea. When God said you are going to die they did not know what that meant. So God gave them a little object lesson. He took these animals; He killed them; He skinned them; He first would have eviscerated them or field dressed them. He then skinned them, then He had to teach them how to properly address the skins and how to take care of the skins; otherwise, if you just take an animal hide and you put it out in the air and it dries; it is going to become hard and brittle and stiff and it doesn't do any good. So, if God made clothing for them from the animal skins, and even though it doesn't spell everything out, God would have had to teach them how to properly skin and dress and prepare the hide so that it would be soft and supple and useable for clothing.
In the process I think that we can infer that he taught them about sacrifice; and later on, when we get to Genesis 6:7-8 with the story of the Flood, God tells Noah, you are to take two of every unclean animal on the ark and seven of every clean animal. Well, no where from Genesis 1-5 has God given instructions on what makes an animal clean or unclean. But, obviously Noah knew what the difference was. This was already part of their knowledge base. So in Genesis 1-11 we are given a skeletal structure of the early history of the human race; but we know from looking at Hebrews 11 and some other passages in the OT that those folks knew a lot more than what is told in Genesis 1-11. They obviously knew what a clean and unclean animal was. Later on we are going to find out from Hebrews 11 that when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac that he (Abraham) knew that God could raise him (Isaac) from the dead; but there is nothing that says that in Genesis 22. You can read Genesis 22 all day long and you are never going to get the idea that Abraham understands that if he kills Isaac that God is going to raise him from the dead, but that is clear from Hebrews 11.
What I am saying is, is that there is more going on in the first eleven chapters then we are told. But what we are told gives us a pretty good indication that they must of known some other things. So Cain brings the wrong kind of sacrifice based on Hebrews 11. Abel brings the right kind of sacrifice. God says to Cain in Genesis 4:6, after Cain has really pitched a piety party and a temper tantrum because God did not accept his offering; he has gotten very anger according to Genesis 4:5. Genesis 4:5-7, God says, "Why are you anger and why has your countenance fallen?" He looks depressed; he's discouraged; he has been rejected, poor Cain; he disobeyed God. God says, "If you do well will you not be accepted? If you do not do well sin lies at the door and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." See, this is the theme of this dispensation; that man has to rule over his sin nature. The only thing that he has to do it with is his conscience, which should be informed by what revelation God has given him at this particular time.
So, the test is, will man follow his conscience and obey God or is he going to disobey God and try to do it his own way? Of course, that is what the failure is (see slide #10):
1. He disobeys God and the result is there is murder in Genesis 4:8 and ultimately the dispensation ends with the angelic infiltration in Genesis 6 when the sons of God look at the daughters of men that they are beautiful and take them wives for themselves. Now we know from Job 1 and Job 3 that these "sons of God" are terms used for angels, bene ha elohim.
2. The second failure is man cannot restore or recover a perfect environment by his own efforts.
3. Third, that man must rely upon God's grace. Human resources are inadequate to resolve the consequences of sin, even in an environment that is only one step removed from perfection.
4. Then finally we see that the human race failed by co-habiting with the demons, Genesis 6:3, and rejecting God and turning to evil in Genesis 6:5.
So the result of this is complete failure and God is going to go to the next stage in His administration. He brings about a judgment, the worldwide Flood at the time of Noah, but there is grace extended. There is always grace before judgment; for 120 years Noah will proclaim God's saving grace, Genesis 6:3, but there is no positive response. The volitional issue then is (see slide #11):
1. For salvation: Faith in the promised Seed of the woman
2. Second, there is a spiritual life based on the ritual that God has given them in terms of the sacrifice and faith and trust in the future redemption that God will provide.
3. Third, the human conscience is demonstrated to be insufficient to provide man with stability, personal, social, or spiritual integrity. Man can't do it apart from God.
One last thing that we need to do is to tie this into the angelic conflict and I don't have slides on this. What we understand is that this dispensation began because Satan attacked the volition of Eve and Adam in the Garden. The volition was an attack on a point of their character and in failing the test man showed that he rejected the authority of God and sought to be his own authority. When Satan said to the woman to look at the fruit and what did God say? She said, "We shall not touch or eat the fruit." Satan says to her, the way he forms the question, "Has god really said that you cannot eat of the fruit of the Garden?" Then the serpent says in Genesis 3:4-5, "you will not certainly die. For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So the woman looks at the tree and decides that she can evaluate whether God's statement was true or not on her own. And so she makes a judgment call. She judges God's statement on her own. That is the height of arrogance. She puts herself in a position whether God is true or not. The result is that she sins and then Adam sins.
This failure mirrored the failure of the angelic volition prior when Lucifer rebelled. And so Satan is trying to duplicate that fall and he wins a tactical victory, but it is a Pyrrhic victory because in winning this victory in the Garden it ultimately sets things up for his total defeat. Because in the failure of Adam and the woman God is going to demonstrate His Righteousness, His Justice, His Grace and His Love in ways that the angels never could imagine. There was no redemptive solution prior to the Fall. There is no indication of that anywhere in Scripture. They had a choice. They could either follow God or follow Satan. If you want to call that the redemptive solution, fine, but there is nobody paying any price. Redemption means to pay a price. Who paid the price?
You know, I have heard people say well, there was a redemptive solution; well, it violates the very meaning of the word "redemption" if you apply it to the angels because no one paid a price. A redemption solution means that somebody's paying a price. Who paid the price? No one did. Jesus could pay the price for the human race because Jesus is fully man. Because He is human He can die for the rest of the human race, we are all connected. We're all brothers and sisters, we all can trace our lineage back to who? Don't say Adam; we all trace our lineage back to Noah. We all go back to the ark, every one of us; and because we are all connected genetically and biologically through Noah, one of us can die for the rest of us if he meets the qualifications. Jesus had to become a human being in order to die for everybody else. You could not do that under the angelic creation because each angel is created individually by God. That is why they are called the sons of God. They were each directly created by God. Every time you have this term "sons of God," bene ha elohim in the OT, it refers to angels as a whole and usually to the fallen angels in context. So, there is a tactical victory, but it is a Pyrrhic victory. Pyrrhic victory means that it is one that is so costly that it is really a defeat. You may have won the battle, but you actually lost it because your casualties are so great.
So God establishes a grace plan to deal with man's failure and that grace plan puts His integrity on display and it is going to show that God deals with fallen human beings just as He dealt with the fall of angels out of grace and in terms of His Righteousness. So His decree is condemnation of Satan and the fallen angels is perfectly compatible with His Righteousness and His Justice. Now after that, Satan basically becomes the ruler of the world, 2 Corinthians 4 calls him the "god of this age." Jesus referred to him as the "ruler of this world" a couple of times. What that means is that he usurped the position of Adam; because Adam failed Satan becomes the ruler of the planet. Now what he is going to try to do in this Dispensation of Human Conscience is to destroy God's plan to redeem the human race through the Seed of the woman. He is going to try to corrupt the Seed.
He (Satan) does this by sending a group of fallen angels that are identified in Genesis 6:3 and they are going to somehow take on human form. This is indicated very clearly in Jude, 2 Peter, and other passages make this very clear. They left their first estate and they took on bodies. They committed a sexual sin. Because in Jude it compares the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, a sexual sin, to the sin of these angels; making clear that it is a sexual sin. Their attempt was to create a hybrid race that wasn't purely human anymore to destroy the purity of the Seed of the woman. So this was what takes place and before it can reach its conclusion the LORD is going to intervene. This is why He has to wipe out all of humanity. That doesn't necessarily mean that every human being is some sort of hybrid, but it has reached sort of a critical mass and God is going to save out Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives because they are the only ones that are positive and are free from any genetic impurity. This relates this to the angelic conflict.
Now after the Flood God establishes a new covenant, so it is new revelation. This means that God is shifting how He administers human history again. This means a new dispensation, a new administration, a new way in which God is governing the human race. The Scripture for the Noahic Covenant is given in the first seventeen verses of Genesis 9:1-17. The covenant is between God and Noah. It is an unconditional covenant. It is a covenant that is related in may of its proposals to what has gone before in the Adamic and Edenic Covenants, addressing the concept of being fruitful and multiplying. It addresses procreation; it addresses judgment; it addresses what foods are eaten; it is very similar. So it is another modification because now we are two steps removed from perfection of the Garden and there are new stipulations.
So Noah is the representative of the human race. The provisions are:
1. To be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, which goes back to Genesis 1:26-28.
2. The second provision in Genesis 9:2, "And the fear of you will be upon all the animals." See there was no fear prior to the Fall. At the time of the Fall there is an authority relationship, but not fear. You don't see that mentioned in Genesis 3. But now the corruption of sin is going to be ratcheted up a couple of notches and there will be fear in the animals for human beings.
3. There is going to be a dietary change. There was a dietary change from the perfect environment to the environment after Adam. They could eat anything before and now it is just the herb of the field, and then starting in Genesis 9, every living thing shall be food for you. They weren't eating meat; they weren't eating fish; they weren't eating chickens. I don't know whether they ever say, "What does that taste like?" You couldn't say that it taste like a chicken because nobody knew what a chicken tasted like. So nobody knew what anything tasted like, I guess? "Every living thing shall be food for you," Genesis 9:3. This is a mandate from God; that we are to eat meat. This is part of the covenant, a part of our diet, and it should be; for whatever reason there has been a lot of theories that have been investigated, but nobody has come up with anything certain.
4. There is a limitation: one can not eat or drink blood, Genesis 9:4. This is not explained until later in the Mosaic Law when it becomes clear for the first time that because life is in the blood. So they were not to eat or drink blood.
5. Capital punishment was mandated in Genesis 9:5-6, "Whoever sheds man's blood by man his blood shall be shed." That is a mandate; it is not an option. God is omniscient. There are a couple of things: you hear, well, it is not a deterrent; well the way we practice it in this country it wouldn't deter anybody because you wait fifteen years before it is ever accomplished. Another argument is, well, it costs so much. It costs more to execute somebody than it does to keep them alive for the rest of their life. But it wouldn't if you would have a speedy punishment. If you would have a trial and all their appeals within about a year and then execute them, then you wouldn't have a problem. But people say, but new evidence always comes out and you may inadvertently execute somebody. God and His Omniscience certainly knew that there would be people under the best systems that would be wrongly accused and wrongly condemned for many things. Guess what? It happened to His Own Son. He was wrongly condemned and He was executed as a criminal on the Cross. God understands this very, very well; nevertheless, He still gave the command that man is responsible to do that.
6. There was also a promise of no more universal flood given in Genesis 9:8-11.
7. And the token of the covenant, the sign of the covenant is the rainbow.
So every time you see a rainbow it should remind you of six of these things. We have dietary change; we are to eat meat; we are not to eat or drink blood; capital punishment is to be applied; there is a promise of no more universal flood; that man is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. God hasn't changed that. That doesn't mean that you are supposed to be irresponsible and have as many children as can possibly come out.
Question: The command to subdue the earth:
Answer: That is not repeated here. It is not repeated in Genesis 3. Now there are two ways to handle that; either it is still in effect, but we are not going to subdue it ultimately until Jesus returns. Psalm 110:1, "Until I make Your enemies Your footstool." That is repeated in Hebrews 1:13. Jesus returns as The Ideal Man, The Perfect Man, and establishes His Kingdom; at that point the earth is subdued. So, fallen man will be unable to fulfill that. It is only fulfilled in the Perfect God-Man.
Dispensation 3: Human Government (see slide #16). We come to the third dispensation now. It comes in at this particular point with the Noahic Covenant it starts a new dispensation, a new administration. This is covered in Genesis 8:15-11:32. It covers just over two to three chapters. The central person is Noah. The name is Human Government. I've also heard it referred to as the Civil Government and the responsibility is to fulfill the Noahic Covenant. The point of human government is to command related to capital punishment; that when God delegated to human beings for the first time the judicial authority to take the life of a human being. That is the most serious penalty; the most serious judicial decision that can be made. It implies within it all other judicial decisions. If man is given the most significant responsibility of making a judicial decision related to capital punishment, then lesser judicial decisions are also implied; so human government is established at this point. We don't have nations yet. That doesn't occur until after the Tower of Babel, but you still have tribes; you have clans; you have villages that need to have some sort of governing structure.
God is no longer present on the earth as He said in Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit will not abide with you anymore." So, He is not present so that delegated responsibility now goes to man. The responsibility in this period is to fulfill the Noahic Covenant, which is primarily given under the test to judge. The human government is to rule justly. The failure of that takes place really under Nimrod at Babel. He is a tyrant. Second, the failure is to disperse and fill the earth. They don't disperse; they gather together at Babel and they are going to build a tower against God. They want to make a name for themselves against God. In one sense they want to build a tower so that they can climb up high enough that they can escape anymore flood waters that God sends them that way. So that is their failure. At the Tower of Babel it is a first attempt at a united world against God. It is the first attempt at a united nations; a first attempt at globalism; the first attempt to unite against God and God is going to judge them by scattering the people through a multiplication of their languages. In grace God preserves a remnant through whom He is going to work and this is going to be developed through Abraham in the next age, in the next dispensation.
In the angelic conflict this is a time when idolatry is developed and demonism takes place. If we were to go back in Romans 1 is a historical review of this era. We read in Romans 1:20-23 NKJV, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." This is what happens after the Flood. "Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed (or exchanged) the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things."
And so what happens historically is you have the development of idolatry and demonism. Now why do I say that? Behind the false gods of mythology are demons, 1 Corinthians 10:19-20 (see slide #18). Paul is talking about the issue of sacrificing meat to idols and whether it is okay to eat that meat. But in the context of that he says in 1 Corinthians 10:20, "No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons." They may be sacrificing to Dionysius; they may be sacrificing to Zeus; they may be sacrificing them to any number of Greek gods and goddesses, but Paul says they are really sacrificing them to demons. There is an array of demons that are behind the gods and goddesses of the Pantheon.
Alright, that brings us to the Abrahamic Covenant. I am going to stop here. Have you got any questions Brice? Okay, we will already stop here this evening. It is a good breaking point. We will come back next time and start with the Abrahamic Covenant and go through the stipulations of the Abrahamic Covenant and hopefully I won't be sick next week.
Let's close in prayer, Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things and to be reminded of Your grace throughout history; that no matter what human failure there might be, we are always met by Your grace; we are always met by a grace provision of salvation that is grounded in Your Righteousness and Justice and that Your Love is demonstrated to us always by Your plan of salvation. You sent Your Son, Your One and Only Son, to die on the Cross for our sins that by His death we might have eternal life. We pray that You will challenge us with our understanding of the Word. Help us to apply these things, apply them in the understanding of Your Word, that we may read Your Word more intelligently. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen.