“Bible Panorama” Part 1

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Bible Study, Dispensations

You may be surprised to know that the Book of Genesis in the Bible covers about 2,500 years of recorded human history and how man happened to arrive here on earth. It tells us about four major events and focuses on the lives of four great men.  It covers four dispensations (rules for living): Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, and Promise.

Creation. Since none of us were here in the beginning, we basically have two theories available to us. We can believe that there was an intelligent Designer who planned everything or we can choose to believe that it all happened by chance or by evolution.  (See www.evolutionvsgod.com) Both theories are based on faith. Without trying to defend itself, the Bible tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Not only did He create it, He sustains it by holding it all together (Colossians 1:16, 17).

Fall. On the sixth twenty-four day, God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:17). Then He took a rib from Adam’s side and made Eve (Genesis 2:21-25). This was no problem for an omnipotent God (Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Revelation 1:8). He told our first parents to tend to the garden of Eden.  They were not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 1:26; 2:15-17). When they disobeyed God, their nature became rebellious toward God. This sinful nature (disposition) has been passed down to all mankind (Romans 5:12; 1 John 1:8).  We need a new nature from above.  Do you know how to get one (John 3:3, 6, 16; 2 Peter 1:4)?  Without one you cannot please God or see the kingdom of God (Isaiah 64:6; 2 Corinthians 5:9).

Flood. Then God allowed men to live according to their consciences for about 1,600 years until things became so bad on earth that He decided to destroy all mankind and start over with Noah and his three sons and their wives. The evidence for a universal flood can be seen in many places. Noah’s descendants were told to scatter out and fill the earth (Genesis 8:15-9:7).  Do you know when a huge continental shift took place (Genesis 10:25)?

Nations. Instead of doing what God told them to do, they decided to build a tower and congregate together (Genesis 11). This is when God decided to confound their efforts by changing their languages so they had great difficulty working with each other. As they spread out, they intermarried and certain genetic traits became dominant. The Scriptures tell us that all men come from Adam originally and then from Noah and his three sons (Acts 17:26).

Abraham. Then God, for His own reasons, graciously selected Abram (Abraham) to be the one through whom He would bless all mankind and through whom the Deliverer and Messiah would come (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18). God also selected the Jews to be the ones to whom He would give divine revelation (information) for mankind’s sake (2 Peter 1:21). Without the Scriptures we would be at a loss as to our origins and our knowledge of the true and living God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). When Abraham and his wife Sarah were very old, they doubted God’s promise to give them a son. Sarah told Abraham to have a son by Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid. Ishmael was the son from this union but he was not the son of promise (Genesis 16). Later Abraham and Sarah had Isaac who was the son of promise (Genesis 21:12). The sons of Ishmael have been at war with the sons of Isaac since that time.

Isaac. He had twin sons whose names were Esau and Jacob. God chose the younger twin to be the one through whom the Redeemer of mankind would come (Genesis 25:23). The descendants from these two brothers also have been at war for thousands of years.

Jacob. He had twelve sons by four women. The escapades of some of his sons should be “R” rated. He had to learn some hard lessons after deceiving his father and brother.  He worked for many years to pay the dowry for his wives (Genesis 29:18).

Joseph. He was the second from the youngest of Jacob’s sons and was given preferential treatment by his father. This led to his being hated by his half brothers who sold him as a slave for 20 pieces of silver. He was purchased by Potiphar, the Egyptian captain of the guard, and eventually became the steward of his household.  Then Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him and when Joseph refused her advances she lied about him and he was imprisoned unjustly for many years.  After 13 years as a slave he was made second in command over all of Egypt because he interpreted Pharaoh’s disturbing dream for him  (Genesis 39-41).

Providence. The providential hand of God can be seen throughout human history as God works behind the scenes to accomplish His purpose of demonstrating to mankind that He is everything He tells us He is as they are recorded for us within the pages of the Scriptures. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalms 19:1). He wants us to know Him and what He has done for us to make it possible for us to avoid the lake of fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 46), and to enter heaven to be with Him forever (John 14:1-3).

(To be continued.)

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