The Bible opens with emphatic statements that God created the heaven and earth (Gen 1.1), animals (animals in water Gen 1.20-23, animals on land Gen 1.24-25) and then human life (Gen 1.26-27). This follows with God’s relationship and command to man, man’s disobedience and God’s response to man’s disobedience. This cycle of command and disobedience can be found in the record of creation, history and the future of man and his relationship with God from Genesis to Revelation. The past and present and future of man is recorded in the bible.
Let us examine these cycles
THE FIRST CYCLE- ADAM AND EVE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
- Be fruitful and multiply
“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” (Gen 1:28).
- Cultivate the Garden
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Gen 2:15).
- Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Gen 2.16-17).
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Gen3.6-7).
Man disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
God’s Reaction to Man’s Disobedience:
God’s reaction is threefold to each of the three principal actors (man, woman and the serpent) to the disobedience to His specific command.
The serpent: And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Gen 3.14-15).
There shall be hostility between the serpent and the woman, and between serpent’s offspring (those who side with the serpent) and her offspring, one particular offspring (Jesus Christ) shall defeat the serpent.
The woman: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Gen 3.16).
The woman shall have pain when bearing children, she shall desire to please her husband and in addition to being a helpmate with her husband shall now be subjected to him.
The man: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen 3.17-19).
The ground is cursed so man will now toil instead of just cultivate it to provide food to eat and will eventually die physically.
The Garden of Eden: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen 3.23-24).
The physical and spiritual condition of Adam and Eve changed. They became physically corrupt and started to decay because of this singular act of disobedience (sin) to God’s command (Word).
They were kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Paradise, God’s presence) to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life hence preventing them from being immortal in this corrupt state. Physical death becomes inevitable.
The story of the bible is God’s plan to bring man back to the Garden of Eden, (God’s Paradise) in the physical and spiritual condition before disobeying God. It is historical and prophetic.
THE SECOND CYCLE-NOAH AFTER THE FLOOD
To Noah and his family after the Flood
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen 9:1)
And they said, go to, 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 (Gen 11:4)
Man refused to obey God’s command to multiply and replenish the earth, they wanted to be concentrated in one location and build a tower, a monument, with their hands outside God’s design. This is basically tantamount to idol worship.
God’s Reaction to Man’s Disobedience:
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth (Gen 11:6- 9).
As a result of disobedience to be fruitful and multiply and removing their focus from the one true God to a monument built from God’s creation and provision (“brick from stone, and slime had they for morter” Gen 11.4) man insulted God by attempting to be independent of Him. God responded by scattering them into nations all over the world with different languages. They formed the seventy nations descendent from the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth listed in Gen 10.1-32.
THE THIRD CYCLE-THE CALL OF ABRAHAM TO BIRTH OF CHRIST
Abraham and his descendants (Israel, The Jews)
With mankind now divided into 70 nations (Gen 10. 1-32) scattered abroad with different languages God chooses not to deal with mankind as a whole any longer but through one man and his descendants. God calls Abraham (Gen 12.1-3), focuses on him and his descendants to instruct him in His ways (to become custodians of God’s Word and ways) so that the rest of mankind (the nations, the Gentiles, the heathen) now scattered abroad can witness how God relates and communicates with, provides for, protects and preserves those who respond to His instructions in obedience.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (Gen 18:19).
From this point onwards God only deals with the rest of mankind through his relationship with Abraham and his descendants. This marks the beginning of the distinction of Israel (Jews) who worship the one true God and Gentile nations (the rest of mankind) who worship idols.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, 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).
God promised Abraham three things as he commanded him detach himself from his father, his kindred and his past. They are
- Land- implicit is a geographical area
- Nation- implicit is
- descendants numerous enough to be a nation and
- every nation must have a leader/ruler/king
- Blessings to the gentile nations through Abraham
These promises are explained and expanded as God’s dealings with Abraham unfolds. The geographical area is defined, the nation is established, an everlasting King is promised and how the gentiles will be blessed is revealed.
So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came (Gen 12:4-5).
Abraham left his family, his kindred and his country as God commanded but the obedience was partial as we shall see as the Bible story unfold.
The story of Abraham and his descendants unfolds and takes us through two thousand years of human history to the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
THE BIBLES TWO THOUSAND YEAR CYCLES
God’s dealing with man as recorded in the Bible’s first 4000-year period and thereafter can be conveniently divided into approximately three 2000-year historical periods, namely
- creation of Adam to the call of Abraham
- call of Abraham to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
- from the ascension of Jesus to present day (2022)
THE THIRD CYCLE
Period of Mankind- Adam to the call of Abraham
The first 2000-year period God deals with mankind. This period begins at creation of Adam and ends at the call of Abraham. At the end of this period the descendants of Noah through his three sons Shem, Ham and Japhet (the 70 nations in Gen. 10-32) refused to worship the one true God and obey God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth so God called Abraham to start another nation through Abraham’s descendants. The descendants became the nation Israel and were distinct from the other nations (referred to as Gentile nations). Abraham was a descendant of Noah through his son Shem.
Period of Israel (Jews) and Gentile Nations – Abraham to the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
The second 2000-year period is from the call of Abraham to the establishment of the Church, the body of Christ. In Abraham, God found a man that will teach his descendants obedience to the ways of God (Gen 18.19). Through this obedience Abraham’s descendants will have a relationship with God which distinguishes them from the rest of mankind (Gentile nations) who with their desperately wicked hearts were alienated from God-
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 (Gen 6.5),
-having also refused to multiply and replenish the earth (Gen 11.4). With this singular choice of Abraham, God separated mankind into two “races” the nation of Israel made up of Abraham and his descendants and Gentiles made up of the rest of mankind from all other nations on earth. At the end of this period Israel disobeyed God failing to recognise Jesus as their promised Messiah crucified Him-
But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him (Luke 23.21)
-God then established the Church for both Jews (the nation Israel was blinded but individual Jews could be saved) and Gentiles that believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus for salvation and eternal life. The Church was a mystery hid in God before the foundations of the earth Eph 3.9 for both Jews and Gentiles Gal 3.28; Eph 3.6; Rom 10.12
The Period of Israel (Jews) The Church (the body of Christ) The Gentiles
The third 2000 year and current period after the death of Christ and the establishment of the Church, the body of Christ to the present day (2022). The Church became the focus with Israel and Gentiles in the background, the nation Israel having been blinded to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Rom 11.25).
Note however, God has outstanding covenants with Israel which are yet to be fulfilled.
“…when the fullness of the Gentiles have come in” (literarily when the Church, the Body of Christ’s membership is complete according to God’s design) Rom 11.25, the Church will be Raptured. At the rapture of the Church the dead in Christ shall be raised to meet with Jesus Christ at His appearing.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thes 4.16).
Then those still alive will be caught up with them in the sky
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess 4.17).
They will be both be clothed with incorruptible bodies (1 Cor 15.52-54). This event, the rapture brings this period to an end. The Church, the Body of Christ which will consist of both the living and the dead who believe Christ as Lord and Saviour will be raptured/translated to be with Him in heaven.
The unbelieving blinded nation of Israel and the Gentiles nations will be left on earth for the next phase as God resumes His dealing Israel, His covenanted people to bring to pass His covenants yet to be fulfilled. It is at this point that “all Israel shall be saved”. They had been blinded “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in Rom 11.25.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Rom 11.26-27)
This phase is recorded in the last book of the Bible, The Revelation. It is the famous Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and when he returns, he will be recognised by the nation Israel as the Messiah, the Son of God, Son of David the promised King, the King of kings and the Lord of lords that they crucified. He will then bring to pass the covenants yet to be fulfilled- restore the whole of the land promised to Abraham to Israel. The nation Israel will occupy the land and Christ the Messiah, the Son of God will rule as the King of all the earth from Jerusalem.
From the above summary it can be deduced that God currently sees three races on earth today. (1Co 10:32) “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”
- The Israelites– direct descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac who observe the circumcision established as the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant and worship God according to the ceremonial and religious laws given through Moses. They are God’s covenanted people, the custodians of the oracles of God (Rom 3.2).
- The Church– the Body of Christ, made up of Jews and Gentiles who have responded in faith to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation. They have eternal life now and hereafter (1 Cor 15.1-4).
- The Gentiles– are neither Jews nor members of the Church, the body of Christ. They worship false gods (Deut 18.9-14; Jer 2.11, 10.2-10) They are those who have chosen to remain unbelievers (Rom 1.28), failed to respond in faith to the salvation provided in death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Gentiles are also referred to as “nations”, “the nations” or “heathen” in the Bible. In the Old Testament Gentile refers to nations/individuals that are not Jews, descendants of Abraham through Isaac. In the New Testament it refers to nations/individuals that are not Jews or Christians (Ps 2.1; Ps 9.20)
The “race” you belong to determines where you will spend your eternity. There are no other races or options as revealed in the Bible, the infallible and inerrant Word of God.