The Gospel From Genesis to Revelation #4: The Covenantal Framework of Scripture

double-rainbow

Introduction to the Covenantal Framework of Scripture

We have now dealt properly with the red diamond of SIN on the diagram and we turn our attention to the large blue SEED just to its right atop pillar two.

The Bible articulates the promised Messiah we’ve previously mentioned as coming forth through the Seed of Eve. This Seed is the topic of study in this pillar and we will observe the passages which relate to how God seeks to bring this Seed into being.

A very physical process ensues to bring this promised Seed forth (we are using Seed synonymously with Promised Messiah, who will be known as Jesus Christ the Son of God when we get there). In order to bring this Seed forth a very long sequence of lineage takes place. Very simply, many men and women will have sexual intercourse, the woman will conceive, and a bloodline is formed in this way until the miraculous conception of Jesus in Mary. Here is another diagram showing the progression of the Messianic Seed through time as we know it.

Messianic Lineage Timeline

(This diagram was made in order to track the biblical Seed and His lineage leading from Adam to Jesus. The purple sections underneath the timeline show this progression of lineage. At a latter time we will discuss the doctrine of chiliasm as it relates to our concept of time as we know it. Again, with a simple grasp on time as we know it and being able to see that the Bible does in fact explain it perfectly causes faith to grow in the hearts of believers. It also blindsides the scientists who say otherwise with a judo chop of truth to the throat. May their unrelenting voices be forever silenced by the word of God!)

The Gospel is Covenantal 

This pillar of good news is called covenantal because of the covenantal framework God uses in Scripture to be the mechanism by which His promises are fulfilled. God’s covenants serve as documented treaties containing words He spoke and will thus cause to happen. When we read the promise in Genesis 3:15 we actually behold God making a covenant. Since God is not a man that He would lie (Num. 23:19), everything He says is covenantal in nature. Meaning, it is impossible for what God has said to not be fulfilled. 

This is the inherent nature of His identity as Creator. What He speaks––is. What He has spoken He has brought forth, as seen in creation of the earth, man, and Israel. When God speaks, what He says is irrevocable. Thus, when God says to the serpent in Gen. 3:15, “the Seed will crush your head,” this promise is unable to be altered, changed, or affected by the freewill of men. It is critical to understand and grab ahold of this principle as we continue in our study.

For the sake of clarity let us first consider God’s covenant with creation in Genesis 1. Although in the first pillar we could have defined this, it was better to wait until it could be explained within the framework of covenantal. We will be as brief as possible, but we must consider several sections of Scripture to make this point.

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth'”; and it was so. 16God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.17God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day,” (Gen. 1:14-19).

Here we see that God told the sun and moon and stars in the heavens to govern the day and the night. God spoke this and the sun and moon are still doing what He told them to do almost 6000 years later. This confirms our simple point. God spoke the sun into being and gave it its orders––rise and be a light. By nature of who God is, and that what He says always happens, a covenant of sorts was made with the sun. It can’t stop rising because God commanded it to rise daily. The sun is actually unable to stop its rising until God has fixed a day for the sun to be darkened…(cf. Mt. 24, Mk. 13, Lk. 21, Rev. 6, Zech. 14). However, there is more.

The second thing God says about these celestials is that they be for signs. This is described in more detail in Psalm 19:1-6.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

Here the Psalmist is declaring that the objects in the heavens are actually testifying to something by just being there – i.e. being a sign. The primary definition of sign is:

an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.

As the very epitome of this definition the presence of the sun, moon, and stars are indicating the presence of their Creator. They are the celestial witnesses of the Creator. They circle the entire earth daily indicating to every person that there is One who made them and ordered them to do what they are doing. They’re basically saying, “Someone greater than us made us do this!”

Here we again see that God has attached the revelation of His identity to His creation and His creation is simply testifying about Him. We also behold the power of God’s covenant and that it cannot be broken since the sun rises every day declaring that God’s covenant with creation stands. It is contextually odd to consider the magnitude of what the sun is heralding and simply relegate it to a piece of science of the solar system.

The point is simple, but we needed to set it in its context to establish this point: God made creation within the framework of a covenant. We have become desensitized to the fact that these heavenly objects serve as covenantal signs to humans telling them that their Creator is still faithful to His covenant made with man in the garden. The sun rises everyday to validate the veracity of Genesis 1 and to testify that God is not done with mankind––His covenant stands as strong as the beams of the sun––and He will finish what He intended in the beginning. Can you hear the sun saying that today?

Covenantal Lineage

God sets forth to fulfill the covenantal promise He makes in Genesis 3:15 within the confines of the reality He has created––the heavens, the earth and men. Thus, He brings forth a lineage on the earth through man. I’m hoping that the dead horse I’m kicking is beginning to rear up in your spirit like a wild stallion kicking the air.

In Genesis 6:17-18 we see God confirm that He is in fact acting upon what He has previously promised through choosing to preserve Noah and His family through judgment.

“Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”

What is this covenant God is speaking of? It is simply the continuance of the promise of Genesis 3:15. He is simply saying to Noah ,”I am continuing the promise of the Seed that will be born through you and your family by saving your lives from the judgment of the flood.” Thus, Noah and His family (a lineage) are preserved in the midst of the cataclysmic waters.

Interestingly, in keeping with His covenantal nature, God preserves the animals that He had made to fill the earth as well. He did this because He had limited His own options according His words in Genesis 1–– He had made them and called them good and thus they also will serve a purpose on the earth forever.

19“And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20“Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

And indeed after the messiah comes we still animals,

“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.”

What a spectacular God we serve! He will by all means fix everything that occurred because of mans choice to sin.

Israel, The Sun and The Moon

Now, let us not forget a very important passage as we hasten through these Scriptures. We will certainly go much further in depth regarding the promises to Israel in future sessions, but God mentions Israel here––in relation to the signs in the heavens. Therefore, we must be faithful to mention her also.

Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Jeremiah 31:35-36

And here, we behold yet again God’s wisdom in ball-and-chaining Himself to these promises. The limitless God of all power who made the heavenly objects and their circuits reminds, and even warns, that those of us who behold them better not forget that as long as they stay in the sky above our small heads HE WILL FULFILL HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM. The next session will delve the details of those promises and yet this foreshadow is intriguingly necessary for us all. We should tremble at such words.

The Sign of the Rainbow

God emphasizes his covenant with Noah dramatically in Genesis 9:8-17. We can summarize here by simply acknowledging the sign God gives Noah––the rainbow. Again, our minds might immediately try to rationalize why rainbows exist, but this is unnecessary when the bible explicitly tells us why in verse 17- 

“This (rainbow) is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” 

Hence, today, the sign of the rainbow that still cuts the dark sky in its majestic brilliance proves that God’s covenant to bring the restoration spoken of in Genesis 3:15 still stands firm! It has been unaltered, un-swayed, and incontestable with the rainbow still making its public speeches daily (assuming here that with all the rainfall on earth at least one rainbow becomes visible every single day since Noah).

The sign of the rainbow actually serves to also confirm our previous point regarding God’s covenant with creation. As Gen. 9 says, God put the rainbow in the sky to testify of His covenant, “…this is the sign of the covenant between you and Me…”. Uniquely, the rainbow is the only other thing in the heavens, aside from the sun, moon, and stars that has been created and put there to tell us something. 

The exact same Hebrew word that is used to describe the function of the sun, moon, and stars in Genesis 1, is also used to describe the purpose of the rainbow.

אוֹת: sign, pledge of covenant, הַבְּרִית ׳א (see ברית) e.g.rainbow, of Noachian covenant. (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/226.htm)

I wonder if you find this as stunning as I do. We should be inserting the mind=blown emoticon here. The Bible actually confirms that the simple sun, moon, stars, and rainbow – all things that we take for granted daily, are serving humankind with the sign of God’s covenant! They are testifying that Genesis is real and the God who wrote it is trustworthy. How extraordinary! When the sun rises every morning, it is simply declaring the good news of God’s covenant with the earth and man. When the moon shines through the darkness of the night it is testifying that His light will eventually triumph over darkness through the covenants He’s made. When the rainbow appears after a storm, how significant that is––that no matter how hard the rain falls and how fierce the lightning and thunder may strike, His covenant with Noah’s lineage and covenant to restore the earth cannot be refuted! We stand in awe of His sheer genius and His ways!

Double rainbow in a meadow, Silt, Colorado, U.S.

Mind=Blown (Just because you needed to see this picture a second time)

Pondering the Genesis of the Rainbow

Rainbows are fascinating to say the least. Usually eclipsing torrential rains, they appear out of nowhere. One moment there is wind and chaos, and the next there is peace and glory.

Have you considered that the outer-ring is red and the inner-ring blue? If the rainbow is a sign then maybe it means something…? What about the appearance of the light within the rainbow being brighter than the darkness outside, separated only by the arch of brilliant colors? Is this also serving as a sign? Could it be that within the promise God made to Noah is the pure light of good news canopied by the vivid shades of the bow and dividing it from the darkness of the flood-judgment just witnessed? Do you know that Isaiah 4 mentions a canopy of this sort?

5then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. 6There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain…” Is. 4:5-6

Isaiah 4 is the Millennial Jerusalem after Messiah’s second coming. It is the time as we read above of lions and lambs befriending one another.  There are two other places that directly mention the rainbow: Revelation 4 and Ezekiel 1.

Revelation 4 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.

Ezekiel 1 28As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Now, this is purely conjecture, but I’m just trying to put two and two together here. What if the canopy mentioned in Isaiah 4 is that same rainbow around the throne in Revelation 4 and the same glory identified in Ezekiel 1? What if the rainbow is directly related to God’s own personal glory revealed and He openly shares it with man?

Does it not have that same intense draw of beauty? What I am saying is this: The rainbow could potentially be far more than we perceive.

What was going through the mind of the Godhead in those days and nights when the floodwaters covered the earth? If God has no delight in the death of the wicked, then we must presume He was experiencing grief. His prized creation had turned in complete rebellion against him and the thoughts and intents of their hearts had become only evil, all the time (cf. Gen. 6:5.) This would’ve grieved Him.

Imagine building an illustrious model train set that filled an entire room. Tunnels and hills fill the platform upon which all the trains you’ve put together run along the tracks doing what you made them to do. Imagine the beauty of the huge interlocked vessels of trains chugging along as one functioning organism. Now picture the trains suddenly going haywire––backwards, derailing, crashing into each other––they move out of control until they all lay on their sides smoking and ruined. All of your hard work lies bleeding before you, unable to fix itself.

However, in the pandemonium one train on the tracks is still doing what you made it to do. We will call this train Noah and his lineage. You put your hand upon that train and drive it through the chaotic wreckage carefully. You take the time to clean the tracks of debris so that the train can continue its journey. You still have a plan for what you made and it will fulfill its complete circuit from point a to point b.

I imagine the Godhead doing something like this. There they sit in grief over what they have just had to do upon the earth. Their hand was forced to manifest justice, and indeed it testifies to the future judgment. But, the hope of Their redemptive plan rises within Them. Just as the dove flies back through the window of Noah’s ark, Jesus turns to the Father and the Holy Spirit says what Jesus is already thinking. The thought comes through to the Father like a champion across the finish line:

“I’ve got it Father! The gigantic bow above our throne that reaches from one end of the heavens to the other creating a magnificent full-color spectrum as a canopy over us––let’s put it over Noah’s family’s heads! Then they will know that the promise is firm!” The Father nods as His eyes light up. “Son… I love it! And… We will cause it to appear after billions of rains from here forward so that it reminds our creation that We will be faithful to what we’ve said.” The Holy Spirit erupts in praise and all the angels fall down in glorification of their undefiled wisdom and unparalleled ingenuity. 

Really?! Who could have ever thought of a rainbow? It lives outside the boundaries of human ideas. Men make cars that we paint to try and make them shiny. God makes rainbows. Maybe after the event of judgment upon the earth He wanted to give something to man so personal that He took it from His own throne room. There it sits in the skies today, the very object that is only mentioned in the Bible as relating to God’s immediate presence.

Let us grow in appreciation when we see this grand sign in the heavens and acknowledge the long-suffering and faithfulness of God in tarrying with wicked men throughout this age! He will accomplish the final redemption foretold and the rainbow proves it.

23-rainbow-photography

Third times a charm.

 

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