Declaring the End from the Beginning
By David McNabb
Understanding the Prophetic Intent
of the Scriptural Account of the Creation
Chapter 1: Introduction
Since the beginning of time, man has wondered, theorized, and imagined as to the creation of himself and the universe. There are many points of view and a number of largely accepted hypotheses.
All in all, most people believe in one of two theories: the Creation, and Evolution. The more "scientific" class would have you believe that, at some point in time, all the matter currently found in the universe occupied a space no larger than a period on a printed page. That speck exploded, and the scattered matter developed into clouds, stars, galaxies, planets and, eventually, life.
The religious circles tend to accept the idea of the creation. This is the idea that God (some refer only to a "greater power") created all things, from the universe to the inhabitants of the Earth.
Still others meld these two theories and claim that some "higher power" created some form of life, and that life evolved into what we now see.
The attacks against the truth about Creation are not new. Charles Darwin was not the originator of alternative origins of man. This is evident in the writings of King David. This great "man after God's own heart" defended His work in creating all things against the doubters of his day, saying, "Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves." (Psa. 100:3) And again, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." (Psa. 139:14)
Accepting the Bible as the Word of God, one must allow it to be the final authority on this subject. The Holy Scriptures begin by addressing this very question.
The biblical account shows us the steps of creation, taken by God, over a period of six days. Many argue that it is literally six 24-hour days, but it seems difficult to prove, remembering that He did not even create "day" until the first day, and did not create the sun or the moon until the fourth day. In addition, as I will describe in the chapter about the sixth day of Creation, the events that took place on that day alone show that it was more than our 24 hours.
The word "day" is used here to let us know that it was a specific and uniform period of time and, although the Bible gives us clues elsewhere, it is not readily clear just how long that period of time may have been.
To truly understand what God is trying to say using these few words in the first chapter of the Holy Scriptures, we must consider how the Bible is written.
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 11:13, "All the law and the prophets prophesied until John." There is no room for discussion in our Savior's words here. Many Christian professors and theologians declare that "the Bible is one-third history, one-third poetry, and one-third prophecy." It is evident here that Jesus disagrees.
Some have said, "You must watch out when using books like Ecclesiastes or The Song of Solomon because they are words expressing human (carnal) thoughts and desires." Paul, an immensely prominent Bible figure, denies that in 2 Timothy 3:16. He says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
Peter sides with Paul in 2 Peter 1:19-21. "We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed ... knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
He speaks plainly here that the Bible is trustworthy because no part of it is written of man's own will, but every word is inspired. Because the Bible proves itself to be true, one can and must take every advantage to use every part of it to come to perfect knowledge. The Bible is inspired by God, and therefore may be understood only by Divine inspiration. (1 Cor. 2:12-14)
Upon accepting that no part of the Bible, although historically accurate, is merely an historical account, one can begin to catch a glimpse of its prophetic intent. After embracing this important concept, the Bible's record of the creation can be seen in a whole new light.
Many Bible scholars and students turn to the book of Revelation and other passages, trying to unravel the mysteries of the prophecies of the end times. It is impossible to predict the future without first truly understanding the statement in Mal. 3:6, "I am the Lord, I change not."
The Preacher speaks clearly, "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: ... That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past." (Eccl. 3:14,15) In short, history repeats itself: not by chance but by design. "God doeth it that men should fear before Him."
It must therefore be acknowledged that, in order to understand what God is doing, going to do, and, most importantly of all, why, we must refer to that which He has done.
We are given a hint in Isaiah 46:9,10. It is written, "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done..."
The next obstacle one must cross is God's system of time. Peter solves this problem, as he quotes an Old Testament scripture. Here he pleads, "Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Pet. 3:8; Psa. 90:4)
In unlocking the mystery of time in the Bible, God figuratively uses one day to show one thousand years and vice versa. It must also be realized that the Bible prophecy may use one number, but the fulfillment may be in some multiple of that number. For example, one day becomes 1,000 years (2 Pet. 3:8); 70 weeks represents 70 years (Dan. 9:24); 288 singers instructed in the songs of the Lord (1 Chron. 25:7) typify the 288,000 believers described in the 7th and 14th chapters of Revelation; to name a few.
Having considered all of these truths, we see that the key to understanding the prophetic intention of Genesis chapter one - or, in fact, any Bible passage - is as follows:
First and foremost, we must accept Jesus, the Son of God, as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, "I am the way ... no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." We must pray to God in Jesus' name and ask for Him to forgive our sins and be born of the Spirit. Once we develop a relationship with Him who died for us, He can call us His friends as He did the early disciples and make known unto us all that He has heard of His Father. (John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-10,13)
Second, as Christians, having accepted Jesus Christ, we are then able, by Him, to have the world removed from our hearts. It is the world that prevents us from understanding God and His work. It is in direct reference to the subject at hand that Solomon declared, "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Eccl. 3:11)
Third, having been sanctified (step two), we can receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, "Whom the world cannot receive." (John 15:17) Of Him Jesus said, "When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)
Next, we must espouse the principle that it is prophetic. (Matt. 11:13; Heb: 10:1) It is only we see that it is a shadow of things to come that we can strive to obtain knowledge of its fulfillment.
The next step we must take is to understand that God is systematic in everything that He does. His actions are never erratic, but always uniform. What He has done serves as a precedent for what He will do. (Eccl. 3:14; Mal. 3:6)
Finally, we must comprehend how God sees time. Time is very important in God's plan, but it must be remembered that God is eternal. What is the difference between one day, one year, 100 years, or even 1,000 years when compared to infinity. With this in mind, it is easy to see how God uses one for the other. Why He has written the Bible in this way is explained in Proverbs 25:2. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
Taking these points into consideration, we will, in the following chapters, take a fresh look at the account of Genesis Chapter 1, and learn the mysteries they contain about God's work with man, throughout the millennia, from the beginning to the end.
In the first chapter of Genesis, it is recorded how that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. He later made the Sabbath a requirement for Israel - the people of His covenant - revealing by His servant Moses. (Ex. 20:8-11; Neh. 9:13-14) Even today, most Christians set aside one day in seven (some Saturday, some Sunday) to worship the Lord.
Remembering that a day is as 1,000 years, and 1,000 years as one day with God (Psa. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8), it is easy to make the connection to the history of man. It is widely known that man has existed, since the creation of Adam, for nearly six millennia. Equally common is the doctrine that the seventh millennium of the history of man is the millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, being "the day of the Lord" foretold throughout the writings of the Holy Scriptures.
This seventh "day" is the day of rest of which Paul speaks in Hebrews 4.
Is this just a coincidence? Jesus said, "All the law and the prophets prophesied till John." (Matt. 11:13) Paul agreed in Heb. 10:1, "The law [has] a shadow of good things to come."
The law, therefore, that "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God," (Deut. 5:13,14) was not merely commandments for Israel, but a prophecy. God has given man a full six thousand years to do what he will on earth. The seventh millennium, however, is His. His Son will rule and reign for 1,000 years, showing man how he ought to have done.
Even as the seventh millennium is foretold by the seventh day, so also do the elements of the other six days of creation signify the work of God in the corresponding millennia. By understanding the symbolism used here, combined with scriptural support, we can see what God has done, is doing and will do for the 7,000 years beginning with the creation of Adam.
Chapter 2: "Let There be Light!"
And God said, 'Let there be light:' and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Gen. 1:3-5)
After comprehending the assertion that God was declaring His works from the very beginning, one can break down this account into its individual elements, and see the prophetic symbolism of God's work for the first thousand years revealed in it.
This passage begins, "Let there be light." In that He says "Let," it is implied that God created light by allowing it to be.
Mankind, in many cultures, uses light to represent knowledge. We are all probably familiar with the image of a light bulb over someone's head signifying an idea, or a "light coming on" when one comes to some understanding.
In Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians 4:6, we read, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
In the Garden of Eden, the application is obvious. God did not create man with the knowledge of good and evil, but provided the proper environment for it to occur. If it had been God's desire for man to never acquire the knowledge of good and evil, He could have simply not created the tree and put it in the garden. On the contrary, God, on the first day of the actual creation, allowed light to be as an allegory of His work in the first millennium.
God may have forbidden their eating of the tree, but He did not prevent it. Even as He "let" the actual light shine forth on day one, He foreknew that Adam would eat of the forbidden tree, thereby letting the light of knowledge into the world.
The scriptures go on to say, "And God saw the light, that it was good." It was good in that it pleased Him - it served His purpose. Knowledge is a good thing. The Scripture declares, "Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge." (Col. 3:10)
God had every intention that we should obtain this knowledge and, although man acquired it by disobedience to God's law, God saw that the knowledge itself was good.
With this knowledge, however, came not only good, but evil also. When light was manifest, the darkness could then also be seen. Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. As they brought their sacrifices, Abel brought "of the firstlings of his flock" (that is to say 'the best'), while Cain brought also some of the fruit that he had grown.
When God expressed His displeasure at Cain's offering, Cain killed his brother in a fit of jealousy. When this darkness was revealed in Cain, God had to separate the light from the darkness, for "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
God sent Cain and his family away from Adam and his family, fulfilling the second work of the first day: the separation of light from darkness.
After this, God called the light "Day" and the darkness He called "Night." God was to mark, or to name, the two families that resulted from this separation. How was this done? As we read further in Genesis about the events of the first millennium, God refers to two distinct groups: the "Sons of God," referring to the lineage of Adam through Seth, and the "Daughters of Men," denoting the children of the family of Cain. (See Gen. 6:1-4)
Thus was completed the Work of God for the first 1,000 years, "and the evening and the morning was the first day."
Chapter 3: The Great Divide
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day." (Gen. 1:6-8)
As we begin to study the prophetic symbolism of this second day of creation, with respect to the second millennium of man's history, we would do well to establish the setting of that time.
The first man, Adam, is recorded to have lived 930 years. (Gen. 5:5) He died just seventy years short of completing history's first millennium. It would not be incorrect, then, to say that the first millennium was "Adam's millennium," as he lived for nearly all of it.
The Bible then wonderfully - and thoroughly - records the years of all the early patriarchs through Abram's father, Terah. As we read along, performing some simple arithmetic, we find that Noah was born in the year 1056 a.c. (After Creation). He lived from 1056 a.c. to 2006 a.c., a total of 950 years (Gen. 9:29) Being born so close to the beginning of the second millennium, and dying so near its end, we could say that the second millennium was "Noah's millennium." Knowing the events that transpired during Noah's lifetime, it is more easily seen how these happenings were foretold in Genesis chapter one.
On this second day of creation, God divided the waters with a firmament which He called "heaven." This "heaven," literally expansion, is what we today refer to as the atmosphere. Most days, one can gaze into heaven and see the water above the "firmament" in the form of clouds. This division was actually performed as is recorded, but how does that translate into prophecy?
As we read in the last chapter, one of the works of the first day was to divide the children of light (Adam's descendants through Seth) from the children of darkness (the descendants of Cain). In Genesis chapter six, the story of the flood begins, "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." The division prescribed by God to keep the chosen lineage of Seth pure was neglected and Seth's descendants began to mingle with Cain's. This greatly displeased the Lord and He made arrangements to end the incredible longevity that man had enjoyed, setting the new life expectancy to 120 years. This new life span of around 120 years is witnessed shortly after the flood. Some examples are seen in Abraham (175), Isaac (180), Jacob (147), Joseph (110) and Moses (120).
Now, in Genesis 6:4 it is written, "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." This verse gives us great insight into the world before the flood, which is called by Peter "the world that then was." (2 Pet. 3:6) Additionally, we catch a glimpse into the origins of the Greek and Roman mythology we learned in school.
I have heard many scholars use this verse to describe the affairs that fallen angels supposedly had with mortal women, resulting in the birth of giants. Although angels are sometimes referred to as "sons of God" as in Job 1:6 & 2:1, I have shown that, in this case, these sons of God were the chosen lineage of Adam through Seth. As we read in Luke 3:23-38, "...which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."
It was on a much grander scale in those days, but even today, we have large men up to as much as 8 feet tall. This verse is abused because it is only half read. The giants were already in the land, "and after that" the ungodly mixing took place.
When the descendants of Seth took a fancy to Cain's descendants, their offspring were the mighty men here described. This is the story that we have received through Greek mythology. There were the great titans, giant and menacing. Then the gods and their offspring deposed the titans in great battle, conquering Mount Olympus. The legends of the gods of Olympus find their origins in the history of the "mighty men of old, men of renown," the mixed offspring of the descendants of Seth and Cain that came up against the giants that dwelt in the land.
The next verse of chapter six further describes the world in Noah's day. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." This is why God determined to destroy the world with a flood. Jesus said that the last days would be as the days of Noah. It is no surprise, then, the amount of wickedness which is evident in every element of society today.
In Rev. 17:15, the Bible shows that waters represent "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." So, even as He divided the waters above from the waters below, God divided the population that filled the world before the flood from the peoples which populated it after.
Another interesting, and extremely pertinent, element of this account of Creation's second day, is the omission of the words found in the description of every other day but this one: "It was good." Why?
It is interesting that in the United States, where Sunday is designated as the first day of the week, Monday, our second day, is dreaded as the day all must return to work after the weekend.
Sometime after the flood, and the Lord's commandment to Noah and his sons and their wives to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth," a multitude gathered together in the land of Shinar and said, "Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." As they built their tower to worship the stars - a prototype for the pyramids - God said that man could do anything if everyone spoke the same language. So God, who is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), confused their language and scattered the people. God, knowing He would have to do that which He does not like to do, as He foretold the events did not call it "good."
This second expression of the "dividing of the waters" resulted in the northward movement of the descendants of Japheth, the southward and eastward migration of Ham's descendants and the settlement of the descendants of Shem in the region we now call the Middle East, right in the middle. It was from among the Semites that God would choose His people and establish His throne.
And the evening and the morning was the second day.
Chapter 4: Fertile Ground
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day." (Gen. 1:9-13)
Immediately upon reading this passage, one thing seems to stand out. Whereas on the second day the words "it was good" are not found at all, here, they are recorded twice: once after the dry land appeared, and once after the vegetation was created. This shows that the third day reveals two separate - though not unrelated - works.
As we discovered in the last chapter, the gathering of waters is used to symbolize nations and peoples. Here in the third day, the Lord calls for the waters to gather into one place, "and let the dry land appear." This foretold the first work of the third millennium.
Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Lord blessed Shem, and chose him to carry on the chosen lineage of the Sons of God. (Gen. 9:25-29)
Right around the turn of the third millennium, a man whose name was Terah, a Semite (a descendant of Shem), had a son named Abram. Noah, the man of God of the second millennium died in 2006 a.c. (1) Not long after Noah's death, when Abram was 75 years old, the Lord said to him, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 12:1-3) By this promise, the Lord separated Abram and his descendants from all the other nations of the earth, and declared that "the promised seed," the deliverer, which He promised to Eve would come from Abram's offspring. The dry land was beginning to appear.
But not all of Abram's seed was to receive the promise. Sarai, his wife, saw that she bare him no children. She offered her handmaid, Hagar, to bear him a child in her stead. Hagar bare Abram a son, whose name was Ishmael.
After the birth of Ishmael, God changed Abram's name to Abraham, and his wife's name to Sarah. At this time, He promised that Ishmael would not be the seed of promise, but that Sarah would indeed bear a son, Isaac, and God's covenant would be with him.
After Sarah's death, Abraham took a wife named Keturah, who bare him six more children, but of all of the children of Abraham, Isaac was chosen as the seed of promise.
Likewise, not all of Isaac's children were to inherit the promise. Isaac's wife Rebekah was carrying twins. Even before their birth, God chose the younger, Jacob, to receive the blessing. God later changed Jacob's name to Israel, and made a covenant with him. The Lord God had made His choice. He had separated to Himself a people from all the nations of the earth. So great in fact was the distinction, that to this day there remain two classifications of people: the children of Israel, and the Gentiles. Thus was fulfilled the gathering of the waters which He called Seas (Gentiles), and the appearance of dry land (the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
The work of the third day was not yet complete, however. Also, on that day, the Lord created life on the dry land: the grass, herbs and trees.
430 years after God called Abraham to be a stranger and pilgrim, God sent a man of the tribe of Levi, named Moses, to deliver the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. They came to the mount Sinai, and God gave them His law. In Deut. 30:15-16, Moses said concerning the law, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply..." God had shown the children of Israel the way of life. This life was not attainable before the law was given, even as Paul said, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses." (Rom. 5:14)
So, for the rest of the third millennium, God raised up judges to guide the people of Israel according to the words of life which He had given them.
The law of God was given to show the way to life. Paul confirmed this, saying, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal. 3:24)
There is an oddity, however. Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and give off oxygen (O2). In contrast, creatures that have "the breath of life" require oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Whereas CO2 is life to the trees, it suffocates those that have the breath of life.
In like manner, the life that came by the law was vastly different than that brought to us by Jesus Christ. We, who are living according to "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," are set free from "the law of sin and death:" the law of Moses. (Rom. 8:1-2) Hereby we can understand Paul's words in Rom. 7:9-11, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me." There was life in the law of God, but it was contained in carnal ordinances. This life, which shows us the way to real life in Christ Jesus, is necessary even today. Not that we should live under the law, being as it were suffocated as by carbon dioxide. But to receive from the Old Testament those things which it revealed - life and peace through faith in the Lord Jesus.
It was to this end that God raised up trees and every green thing, not for the sake of the trees only, but that oxygen might be produced for those things which He would create later: the fish, birds, beasts and men. Even so, God raised up the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, gave them the law by Moses and made them an example unto those that after should live according to God in the spirit. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Chapter 5: Stars aren't Born, They're Made
And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth:' and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." (Gen. 1:14-19)
By the beginning of the fourth millennium of the world's history, God was ready for the next phase of His work. In creation's fourth day, He foretold of this fourth phase by the creation of the Sun, Moon and stars.
Around the turn of the millennium, the people of God sought that they should be a kingdom. Although many cite this chain of events as an example of what happens when God's people are disobedient, God had always planned to make Israel a kingdom. It is He who set the guidelines for Israel's future kings. (Deut. 17:14-20)
The Kingdom of Israel became the first Sun, the great light to rule the day. Even as the Lord says of the lights of the heavens, "Let them be for signs," He said of Israel, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs." (Isa. 8:18)
But God showed by the rising and setting of the Sun and the Moon, that the era of that kingdom would not last forever. That "day" dawned with Saul, reached its full glory under David and Solomon, and, toward the end of Solomon's reign, began its decline. A wonderful, and amazing, fact is recorded here that each of these great kings, in their turn, ruled over Israel 40 years! These 120 golden years of Israel was an incredible time that has left an indelible mark, not only on the Middle East, but on the whole world.
Even though it was under Solomon, whose fame was spread throughout the known world, that the kingdom reached its largest area, it was during his reign that the Sun began to set. God had given Solomon great wisdom, and had blessed him greatly. But Solomon got caught up in his wives' idolatry, for he had "loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, ... of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, 'Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in to you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.' ... For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. ... And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father." (1 Kings 11:1-8)
Solomon's disobedience brought the wrath of God upon the kingdom. God promised to divide the kingdom, leaving the tribe of Judah to the offspring of David, but giving the other tribes to the rulership of the sons of Joseph.
For more than 250 years after the death of Solomon, many kings - some good, some evil - reigned over the two kingdoms. The northern kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, however, had more than its share of wickedness, and, in about 611 b.c., God caused them to be conquered and taken captive by the Assyrian Empire.
In Jeremiah 3, God said that Judah saw how He had dealt with Israel, but did not fear Him. Instead, she followed the same path. So, Babylon came against Judah, finally taking Jerusalem and destroying the Temple in about 497 b.c. And so the Sun set.
Under the rule of Babylon - and later, Medio-Persia - the Jews enjoyed some favor. These Gentiles had their own gods and their own customs. We are familiar with various stories which illustrate times when the worship of the secular ruling authority came into conflict with the worship of the one, true God. Each time, however, we see where this conflict led to a peculiar result: the Gentiles in charge acknowledged Jehovah!
In Daniel 2, Daniel interpreted the vision of King Nebuchadnezzar. That king of Babylon, in turn, said, "Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret." Later, in chapter 3, when God delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar was convinced! "Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, 'Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort." (Dan. 3:28-29)
Babylon, the nation God raised up to rule while the Sun of God's people was set, had risen up as the Moon, reflecting the light of God. Although they made no decree to worship the God of the Jews, they proclaimed that He was the greatest God, and that none should speak against Him.
Nevertheless, their term as "the Moon" would not last. In the king's vision, which Daniel interpreted in chapter 2, God foretold a series of nations that would arise. After Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, profaned the vessels of God's house, God brought their rule to an end. A "new moon" arose in their place: Medio-Persia.
Darius, the king of Persia, loved Daniel very much, but was tricked by some of his advisors to pass a law barring the worship of any god other than the king. Daniel refused, and the king could not change the law. Daniel was doomed to the lion's den.
The next day, the king , after fasting all night, found Daniel unhurt. God had delivered Daniel from the lions, and the king was "exceedingly glad for him!" "Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." (Dan. 6:25-27)
Each in their turn, Greece, Rome, Germany, Spain, England and, today, the United States, have risen up: secular nations which acknowledge the God of Heaven, funding missionaries and promoting "Judeo-Christian" values. From time to time, God has raised up His people - natural Israel, and, later, the Early Church - as the "light of the world:" the Sun.
During the "nighttime," when God's people as a whole are relatively dormant, God has raised up prophets, "the stars also," to show forth, individually, what light they could in the midst of relative darkness. The great biblical prophets were born during the fourth millennium: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nahum, Zechariah, Obadiah, etc. John the baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, the two greatest prophets, were also born right at the end of that millennium, although both of their ministries occurred after the beginning of the fifth millennium, as I will explain in the next chapter. God prophesied of the reward of these great men of God, and tied their work to the fourth day of creation, in Daniel 12:3, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
There is a very curious fact involved in what God did - or, more specifically, did not do - on this day. On the first day, "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night." On the second day, "God called the firmament Heaven." On the third day, "God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas." Here on the fourth day, however, He did not give the lights of the heavens names.
As I have shown in the previous chapters, the elements of the first three days point to a very specific, single fulfillment. These "great lights," however, were not fulfilled by one particular entity. Rather, even as the moon is new each month, so also have various nations risen up as God's moon, a secular government reflecting the light of God's word, shining forth from His people which dwell in it.
Now, we see that the "Moon" of this age - America - has begun to grow dim, refusing to reflect the light of God. A new day is about to dawn! The Latter Church shall soon arise to light the world one last time before the end. According to Haggai 2:9, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." For a few years, the Church of the last days will outshine even the glory recorded in the Acts of the Apostles!
After our great, albeit brief, shining, preaching throughout the world will cease. Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy, "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine." (Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:10,3:15; Acts 2:20-21)
So shall the Scripture be fulfilled, "He calleth to me out of Seir, 'Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?' The watchman said, 'The morning cometh, and also the night.' " That darkest of nights, which shall follow the brightness of the latter Church, shall overtake the earth even like the plague of darkness with which the Lord smote the Egyptians. It is during this time that The Beast shall reign in all of his wickedness and fury, and shall "wear out the saints of the Most High." (Daniel chaps. 7 & 8; Rev. chaps. 13 &17)
When The Beast shall have finished his work, at last, as prophesied by Daniel, one final kingdom shall arise which shall never be destroyed, for God shall establish a nation, and shall give unto them the kingdom, for they have brought forth its fruits! "And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Dan. 2:44) Hallelujah!
Therefore, take heed unto prophecy, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts! (2 Peter 1:19)
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Chapter 6: Not Just Another Fish Story
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day." (Gen. 1:20-23)
On the fifth day, God did something new: He created the "moving creature that hath life." The first living, oxygen-breathing creatures were formed on this day. The birds which fly through the air, and the fish which "fly" through the water, both have life.
The waters brought forth these creatures in abundance, and God commanded them to multiply and fill the earth and the seas. This foreshadowed the work of the fifth millennium: the ushering in of life.
Jesus, as I showed in the last chapter, was required by prophecy to be born in the fourth millennium, together with the other prophets. His birth did not mark the advent of the next millennium, however. In fact, it was a full twelve years after the birth of Christ that the fifth millennium of man began.
Jesus, even as a young child, had great insight into the Word of God, and God's work. We know very little about the first thirty years of His life. Oddly, one event in Jesus' youth is recorded. It is found in Luke 2:41-51.
It was Passover, and the young Jesus had turned twelve during the previous Feast of Tabernacles. Events in the world had signaled that the new millennium had begun, and that God would be beginning the next phase of His plan. Jesus knew how to read the signs of the times, unlike the religious leaders of His day. (Matt. 16:3, Luke 19:44) He therefore stayed at the temple to begin His Father's work.
When His parents realized that He was missing from the caravan, they returned to Jerusalem, and found Him sitting in the temple with the Jewish teachers, astonishing them with His understanding. When Mary approached Him, asking why He was here, He replied, "How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"
But, although the fifth millennium had begun, it was not yet time for Jesus' ministry to begin, so He returned home and was subject to Joseph and Mary in all things.
One of the things that had to happen before the ministry of our Lord could really begin was the ministry of His prophesied forerunner, John the Baptist.
When Jesus turned thirty, He went and was baptized by John. John, who had been preaching about "the Lamb of God" that was coming to take away the sins of the world, when he saw Jesus approaching, declared that this was He of whom he spake.
That Lamb ministered for the next three and a half years, ultimately offering Himself for our sins, whereby all that believe on Him obtain eternal life. From His death until now, God has called many souls to become "new creatures in Christ Jesus," and enter into His abundant life. That life is symbolized by the living creatures created on the fifth and sixth days. Those two days signify the two thousand years of the Grace Age, from the days of Jesus' ministry until the day He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Gospels record when Jesus began to call His disciples thus, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 'Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' " (Matt. 4:17-19) "And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, 'Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.' " (Luke 5:10)
Jesus spake nothing, except in fulfillment of prophecy, and this case is no exception. (John 12:49) He did not use fishing merely as a metaphor, but He was using a precept which God had spoken by His prophet, Jeremiah.
In Jer. 16:16, the Lord said, "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters..."
The work of the Lord on the fifth day was to create the fish. This foreshadowed His work of the fifth millennium: the gathering of the new creation - that which had life.
Even as the Lord commanded the fish to multiply, Jesus likewise commanded His disciples, saying, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The disciples went forth fishing, and multitudes upon multitudes of believers were caught in their Gospel nets.
Today, many associate the fish with Christianity. Rightly so, but it is the Early Church who is represented by the fish. Nevertheless, we are now in the sixth day, and the second part of Jeremiah 16:16 will soon come to pass, as we shall see in the next chapter.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Chapter 7: All Creatures Great and Small
And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind:' and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
"And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.'
"And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat:' and it was so.
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." (Gen. 1:24-31)
In this sixth day of creation lies a beautiful description of what seems to be the climax of God's workweek. In it we see two distinct works: the creation of the animals and the creation of mankind.
There is a great difference in the execution of these two marvelous works. In the creation of the animals, God says, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature..." (This is very much like God's words on day five, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly [the fish and the fowl]...") And it was so. The next verse says, "And God made the beast of the earth..." So, indeed the creatures were all created by God, but in what respect? The earth brought them forth as God commanded. Not so, however, with the creation of Adam and Eve. Of them, God says, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." Genesis 2:7 says, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The chapter goes on to describe how God took one of Adam's ribs and formed the woman. The creation of man shows tremendous deliberation and personal involvement, whereas the beasts were commanded to be brought forth, "and it was so."
We are often reminded of the world's idea of a "mother earth." If the idea is valid, it is so only for the beasts which she brought forth. Man, however, does not have the earth as his mother, for we were not brought forth like the beasts, but created with careful deliberation, both man and woman.
Such is very much the case even today. God has set a system in motion to bring forth beasts, each of which performs its vital function in the ecosystem and dies. In contrast, however, every human child born into this world personally receives the breath of life from God and becomes a living soul. This helps us better understand Ecclesiastes 3:21, "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" Also, Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Paul, in Galatians 4:26, shows that it is the heavenly Jerusalem, not earth, that is our mother, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
So God created all things which have the breath of life, both of beast and man, on the sixth day. As with the fifth day, the key element here is life. The reason that He reserved the creation of the living creatures for these two days is simple, Jesus' ministry would bring life to earth, and that ministry was predestined to occur near the start of the fifth millennium.
It is in the Son that life is contained, as eloquently stated by John Zebedee, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:11-13) It is the born-again believer that has life. These two millennia of man's history have been tremendous to the bringing forth of those that truly have life, in God, through Jesus' name.
But life in general was not to be the apex of God's creation. There was yet one creature, a very special creature, to be made. This creature was so special, in fact, that it would bear the likeness of God Himself: man. God made man, and later, woman, to rule over all the earth, and to worship Him is spirit and in truth. As Solomon said, "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Eccl. 12:13)
Paul is very clear that Jesus is the "second Adam." Now, Jesus was not created, to be sure, but is the "only begotten Son of God." He is nevertheless foreshadowed in Adam. Near the end of the sixth day, God formed man and placed him in the garden of Eden. Shortly thereafter, God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." (Gen. 2:18) God was preparing to give Adam a wife, but the next verse says that God caused all the animals to parade before Adam, and he named each of them. After this God caused Adam to go into deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and from it formed Eve. When God brought her to Adam, Adam said, "This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen. 2:23)
This entire exercise shows that man looked over all of God's creation for this companion, and found none. God therefore had one more task to perform to complete His sixth-day work: woman. His very words, "This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh," indicate his exuberance that, finally, there was someone like him.
This same exercise is being played out today. The earth has brought forth multitudes of Christians, having abundant life from God. Just before the beginning of the seventh millennium, Jesus will come for His bride. Although it is commonly taught that all of Christendom is the Bride of Christ, this is simply not true. The Scriptures show allegory after allegory about the marriage supper of the Lamb. These stories contain the various elements of the Bride, her bridesmaids and the other guests at the wedding. All of these are made up by various Christians, but only some believers will qualify to be in "the Bride." As the Bible says, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Jesus, in Matthew 25, says that in the last days the Kingdom of Heaven will be like 10 virgins, five wise and five foolish. If these are the Kingdom of Heaven, then they are all Christians, but surely the half that were foolish would not also be God's Elect.
God always has a chosen group, even a chosen group within a chosen group. God chose Israel out of all the nations of the world. Of them He further chose the tribe of Levi to do the service of His house. He went even further to choose out from among them the household of Aaron to be the priesthood. God never changes. God has chosen Christianity to be His blessed people of the grace age, and from them He will make up the Bride of Christ. (Mal. 3:16)
This is the last work of our millennium. Even today, God is beginning to form that group of Christians that, when Jesus comes, will be bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. As John the Apostle said, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:2,3) Not all Christians are striving for that purity, but those who do will be like Esther, who pleased the king above all the women of the land and became his queen.
John, in Rev. 19:8, records of the Bride, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Paul agrees that this perfection is a special gift of God, in Heb. 6:1-3, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection... And this will we do, if God permit."
God then commanded Adam and Eve to subdue the earth and to "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Once Jesus presents to Himself this "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," He and His new Bride will enter into the seventh millennium to rule and reign for a thousand years.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Chapter 8: The Rest of the Story
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." (Gen. 2:1-3)
So God finished His work of creation, but He was not quite done "declaring the end from the beginning." After six days of work, God rested. He separated the seventh day and blessed it.
It is believed by many, that since God rested on the seventh day, He straightway commanded mankind to do likewise. It is imagined that Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the other early patriarchs kept the seventh-day sabbath. This is not the case. It was not until Moses received the law of God on Mount Sinai that the Lord revealed the sabbath to His people, and made it a requirement. This is clearly stated in Nehemiah 9:13-14, "Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them Thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses Thy servant."
God reserved the benefits of rest for His people. The Sabbath was a mark of identification for Israel. Israel was the only nation which provided a day of rest for all that dwelt there, Jew or Gentile, bond or free.
God reinforced the connection between the seventh and rest in the years. Every seventh year, as with the days, the land was to rest. No sowing or pruning could be done on the seventh year. God promised that, if the children of Israel would keep the sabbath years, the sixth year would bring forth enough for three years, and they would begin to sow again in the eighth year, while still living off of the harvest of the sixth.
Sadly, Israel never kept the seventh-year Sabbath. For 490 years, they refused to keep the commandment of God, and received the judgment of Lev. 26:14-46, "If ye shall despise My statutes, ... I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, ... And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest and enjoy her sabbaths." So the children of Israel were 70 years in captivity, to make up for the 70 seventh-year sabbaths they refused to observe. God promised the land rest, and He delivered.
After the death of Moses, the Lord told Joshua that the time had come to take the land. Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan and began to take Canaan. "Joshua made war a long time with all those kings." And "Joshua took the whole Land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by tribes. And the Land rested from war." (Josh. 11:18,23)
Today, many theologians insist that Israel never received the entire land which God had promised to Abraham. This theory is summarily dismissed by Joshua 21:43-45, "And the Lord gave unto Israel all the Land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that He sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass." Israel got their land. Israel had its rest. Joshua led them to the realization of their promises. But even so, these promises had spiritual implications far greater than what natural Israel was to receive.
God told Abraham, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." (Gen. 13:14-15) What Abraham saw with his natural eyes, his natural offspring, the children of Israel, inherited under the leadership of Joshua. But Paul said, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." (Rom. 4:13) The spiritual implications of God's promise to Abraham, was that he would be heir to the entire world. That promise was passed on to his spiritual seed, the children of faith.
Likewise, God promised rest to the children of Israel: a condition they also attained under the administration of Joshua. Once again, however, Paul shows that the natural fulfillment was to be eclipsed by the spiritual manifestation. "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." "For if Jesus [Joshua, the son of Nun] had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (Heb. 4:1-11) The temporary rest enjoyed by natural Israel in the days of Joshua was an allegory fulfilled in Acts 9:31. After the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later Paul), it is recorded, "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judæa and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." This would not last, however, as multitudes of Christians would soon find themselves martyred for their faith in God.
Jesus of Nazareth said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (John 5:17) The Father has been working for nearly 6,000 years. Man, too, has been working for nearly 6,000 years. His time is almost up. Six "days" are given to man to labor and do all his work, but the seventh day is the Lord's. At the end of these six millennia, the Sabbath of the Lord shall begin.
The dead in Christ shall rise, and we which are alive and remain shall be changed. We will have rest from pain. Rest from the sting of death. Best of all, we will have rest from the flesh and its temptations. We, who have been born of the Spirit, and received "an earnest of the Spirit," will at last receive our full inheritance: immortality and unfettered Spiritual communion.
The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. The Father shall give all authority unto the Son, and He shall rule until He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:24) First on the agenda, at the beginning of the seventh millennium, the Lord shall take the beast and the false prophet and cast them in the lake of fire. After that, Satan shall be bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years.
Christ will conquer and rule the earth with His people. Then the earth will have rest. Rest from Satan. Rest from ungodly governments. Rest from war and conflict.
This is the Rest, which God has promised His people. He has shown it from the beginning, when He sanctified the seventh day and blessed it. He confirmed it in the Law with the seventh-day and seventh-year Sabbaths.
This Rest yet remaineth for the people of God. Yea, it is even nigh at hand. The sixth millennium is swiftly coming to an end and the seventh day is about to begin. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest. Your inheritance awaits. Receive Jesus Christ today as your Lord and Saviour, for He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)
1. a.c. - After Creation