Current Message

To get your own copy of the message...
Download the file from the Written Message Page and
Get a sound recording of the message from the Audio Messages Page.
Watch the message on our YouTube Channel.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

posted Oct 13, 2019, 5:39 PM by Site Administrator

THE FLOOD AND GOD'S COVENANT

 

Genesis 7:1-9:29

Key Verse 9:1

 

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 

 

In the previous passage, we learned that the people of Noah’s time were corrupt to the core. They became worthless, and thus, invited God’s judgment. But Noah was different. He struggled hard to live according to God’s purpose. God was pleased with him and shared with him his plan of judgment on the land, and he instructed Noah to build an ark for him, his family and all the animals. In today’s passage, we see how God fulfilled what he said to Noah about his judgment. And we also see in this passage God's vision and hope for humans. 

 

First, Every living thing that moved on the earth perished (7:1-8:22). Look at 7:1. Now Noah successfully completed building the ark. It was huge – 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Its length was one and a half times longer than a football field, and it was taller than a five-story building. When the ark was completed, God told Noah, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. This word of God was the best reward to Noah. He had worked so hard to obey God’s word and built the ark for about 60 or 70 years, or maximum 120 years. Who could understand the agonies, sorrows, or pains he had been through? But when God commended him saying, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation, all pains and sorrows, which had scratched his heart, all memories of mistreatment from his neighbors, disappeared, and deep thanks filled his heart. God’s commendation to Noah was like saying, Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness. It was on the tenth day of the second month of the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, and seven days later, the rain would fall. During these seven days, pairs of animals and birds, and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark as God commanded.

 

And verse 16 reads: Then the Lord shut him in. While the door of the ark was open, there was a chance for anyone to repent and enter the ark for salvation. There was hope and grace. But when the Lord shut the door, there was no one who could be saved except those who were in the ark. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. We must secure God’s salvation while we have a chance. Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. Once he shuts the door, no one can open it.  

 

Look at verse 11. Let’s read this verse together. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.This verse indicates that at that time, not only did heavy rain fall on the earth, but also all the wells and spring waters of the ground burst forth. The expression, burst forth shows that great pressure was there just like geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Also, the fact that not just one or two or even some wells and springs, but all the springs and wells burst forthtells us that such great pressure was applied to all the wells and springs in the whole world. What could be the reason that the pressure increased greatly toward the waters underground? Maybe, magma under the ground expanding or pushing toward the surface of the ground?! If it is so, then, there must have been a lot of volcanos erupting in various places on the earth. As the underground waters came up to the surface of the earth, many sink holes appear, and as the water level rose, even many mountains collapsed, and great tsunamis occurred. Trees were uprooted, houses were destroyed, and all these debris were floating and attacking people in muddy waters. It was total chaos. The wind blew crazily like a hurricane, and thunder and lightning roared dreadfully. The entire world was completely dark – no sunlight, no moonlight, and no stars shining at all—the scene must have been dreadful beyond our imagination. People panicked, and out of fear, screamed for help, but there was none to hear them. Throughout this dreadful scene, the ark was floating over the surface of the water, traveling wherever the wind or waves led. But, despite the strong crazy wind and heavy rainfall, it never sank, and nothing harmed it, whether wind or water, rocks or trees, because Noah had built it according to God's blue print - it was designed for this occasion. The entire earth was completely covered with water, and there was no land exposed on the surface of the earth. Only after diving in to the water for more than twenty feet, you could barely touch the top of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days. 

 

What was the result of this dreadful flood? Let’s read verses 21 through 23 together. 

 

Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-- birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

 

Everything that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, and all the creatures, except fish. All these three verses start with the word, Every, indicating that there was no exception. God never makes a mistake. God’s judgment was thorough, and no one could escape from His judgment. Those who blindly sought to gratify their sinful desires, those who visited the place where Noah was building the ark and ridiculed him saying, Fanatic! Crazy man!, they all together sank like lead into the depths of the water. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. It seemed that all people were enjoying their lives to the full and Noah was suffering all the time, denying himself, and not enjoying any fun in the world. But when God’s judgment came, it was very clear who was foolish and who was wise. Noah was right, and his way of life was worthy in God’s eyes. In this way, Noah became an heir of righteousness through whom God’s plan on earth would continue. 

 

Noah’s flood is the foreshadow of God’s judgment that is coming. Jesus says in Luke 17:26-27, Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Jesus here indicates that Noah’s flood is the foreshadow of the final judgment that is coming, and that the final judgment will come in the same pattern. During Noah’s time, until the judgment day, people enjoyed their own life, characterized in four ways – eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. These were most important things in their lives. They didn’t know what’s going on until they were destroyed. Now we are waiting for God’s final judgment. How will it come? Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. While people are so busy-minded about eating better, drinking better, and pursuing marriage dreams, the final judgment will start, and even people will not notice that it is God’s judgment until they are really destroyed. Now God’s judgment is proclaimed; it is coming! How should we live our life? We must not live like the peoples of Noah’s time, just being concerned about eating well, drinking well, marrying well; instead, we must live like Noah, seeking God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, walking with God. The Bible says, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.” (Rom 2:7-11) We must seek glory, honor and immortality, instead of being concerned about and seeking eating better, drinking better, marrying better, driving better cars, living in a bigger house. Sometimes, we are confused of which one is right; if that happens, just understand that you are tempted. At that time, see which way is self-seeking, and which way is seeking immortality. In a sense, we can describe our life as the life of building an ark for our salvation. God has given us his blueprint of how we must build the ark, which is the Bible. Let’s build the ark of salvation, a big one, by following God’s instructions carefully, not only for ourselves, but for many others. 

 

Second, Be fruitful and increase in number (8:1-9:17). After forty days of rainfall, the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The sun shone brightly and the waters on the earth were sparkling. Instead of strong winds, a gentle breeze was blowing. Under the blue sky, only the ark was floating over the whole surface of the earth. Look at 8:1. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Since the whole earth was completely covered with water, there was no place for the water to go, and thereby, the ark would float on the water forever. Now, Noah and all the living creatures in the ark were completely stranded on the water - the ark had no direction to go and no destination to land. And there was nothing they could do, but just stay in the ark. But God remembered them and was concerned about them. So, He helped them by sending a wind over the earth, and the waters receded, and finally the ark came to rest on the top of Mount Ararat. People say that the waters became the ice at the North Pole and the South Pole.

 

The expression, God remembered Noah and all the creatures,... shows us God's deep concern for those who struggle to live for God. Sometimes, as we struggle to live as shepherds and Bible teachers, we feel stranded in the matter of school work, or job matter, or even sheep matter - without knowing what to do and how to solve the problems. At that time, we can be rest assured that God knows our situation and that He will certainly help us, sometimes, by sending the wind over the earth and changing the situation, making a way for us to go, or sometimes, opening a new door. God's eyes range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 

 

Look at verse 20. On the 27th day of the second month in the following year, the earth was completely dry, and God asked them to come out of the ark. When Noah came out of the ark, the first thing he did was to build an altar and worship God. So many people, maybe, billions people died; the whole world was destroyed. But the first thing Noah did was to build an altar to the Lord and offer sacrifices on it, showing his deep respect, honor and thanks to God. That’s his attitude toward God, showing his heart toward God very well. At this, God was very pleased. The smell of the burnt offering was the pleasing aroma to Him. God accepted Noah and his offering. Then out of contentment, God said in his heart, Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. God knew that man’s sin had not been removed by the flood. Even if the inclination of man's thoughts was only evil even from childhood, just like in the time of Noah, God decided that He would neither curse the ground nor destroy all the living creatures. There would be never such a global catastrophe that would destroy all the living on the earth. Maybe, a great earthquake occurs; or a nuclear war occurs; yet still, God confirmed that there would be no global destruction that would kill all the living on the earth. This comforts all the creatures on earth. These days, many Hollywood movies’ main theme is about this global catastrophe, either by nuclear wars, or by natural disaster, or by terrible viruses. But God confirms here that such a global catastrophe will never occur, even if some humans plan to do so. So, don’t be afraid. Don’t be so anxious.

 

Then, as the righteous Judge, how would God deal with man's sin? Not in the way He dealt with sin thus far - not in the way he dealt with Adam's sin, or Cain's sin, or even the sin of Noah's people. Even destroying the whole world would not solve man's sin problem. God was looking for a new way to deal with and solve man's sin problem, that was, to take away the sin of the world through the death of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

After the flood, everything changed greatly. The climate changed drastically. All creatures experienced sheer terror. NowGod would start all over again. So, He issued certain rules and regulations for the whole world, for all creatures, especially for humans, just in the same way He had established certain directions and rules for AdamLook at chapter 9, verse 1. Let's read this verse together:

 

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 

 

Just in the way He blessed Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, now God blessed Noah and his sons with these commands: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Even after this great catastrophe, even when there were only Noah and his family on the whole earth, still God's original plan and vision for humans did not change. He was starting all over again with Noah and his family with the same vision and direction. This shows that the original plan of God for humans remains the same all the time. As children of God, we want to pioneer our campuses and establish Jesus' disciples. What is God's desire for us in this matter? God's blessing for us is this: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. God wants us to be fruitful and increase in number. As we struggle to make disciples of college students, God will certainly help us and bless us to be exceedingly fruitful. 


God also reassigned humans as rulers over all the creatures - all the beasts of the earth, all the birds of the air, every creature that moves along the ground, all the fish of the sea, but this time, based on the fear and dread of humans that fell upon all the creatures. Even after the flood, even when human nature was corrupt a lot, still God's original plan for humans remained the same - He still desires that humans must be rulers over all his creation. This is what God wants us to do - live as rulers and conquerors over all the things. This is the kind of life God wants us to live - rulers, conquerors, challenging difficult situations and overcoming them.

 

God also gave them meat as food. God says in verse 3, Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Not only fruits and vegetables, but also meat; not only meat, but also everything - locust, birds, fish, mussels,... The environment had changed drastically. Before, the earth was like a green house, with perfect weather; but then, after the flood, the environment had changed drastically – now as the ice was formed in the North Pole and the South Pole, as the cold air circulates, very cold winter would be there, or even ice-age would kick in. And the nature of the animals would change a lot. No one knew about such things. But God knew them, and was concerned about humans. In God’s eyes, it was necessary for humans to eat some meat to deal with all these things. So, he gave them meat as food. The expression, Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything, “everything” shows God's heart's desire for humans very well. He wants to give everything, every good thing to humans; God is willing to give us everything, and anything to make our lives enjoyable and fulfilling. This is God's heart's desire for you and for me. God is good for you and for me.  

 

In verses 4 through 6, God taught them to show respect to the lifeblood of any creature. They should not eat any meat with the lifeblood still in it. Even though all the animals, birds and fish were given them as food, it did not mean that they should deal with these creatures recklessly, such as killing them for fun, or eating any part of the animals right after hunting. Instead, in order to eat the meat, they must follow a certain procedure such as draining out the blood, and then, cooking. Killing anything that has the lifeblood is not a joke, even though they are given to us for food. We must show certain basic respect to them, because they are God’s creatures, just as we are.

 

Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together:

 

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

 

Here, God especially, taught them the value of human life. If any animal killed a human, God would demand an accounting from that animal for the lifeblood of the human; if any person killed another human, God would demand an accounting from that killer for the lifeblood of his fellow man. With this, God established capital punishment in human society, saying, Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. That is God’s law that governs all humans. Because so many people, maybe, billions' people, died in a few months, people might think that human life was nothing. But that's not the case. Human life is valuable and priceless, because each person is made in God's image. If anyone ignores this point and kills others, such a person is not worth living in God's eyes. In this way, God taught Noah and his descendants to show respect to human life, and not only human life, but also all the creatures that had the lifeblood.

 

When we think about this carefully, we see that to God, each person is important; He values your life and my life. And in the same way He values it, He now teaches us that we must value others as well. There are 7.8 billons people; it seems no one cares about us. That’s why so many people feel lonely, meaningless, and thereby, they just give up, throwing themselves to the mud freely. But God cares for them. You are important to God, and God has a good plan for you.

 

Look at verses 9 through 11. Let's read these verses together:

 

I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

 

Here, God established his covenant that never again would all life be cut off by the waters of a flood. And as the seal of his covenant, He twisted the physics a little bit, and let the rainbow appear in the clouds. There may be a terrible hurricane, but we can be rest assured that it will never be like Noah's flood. This covenant is not only with Noah or his descendants, but also with every living creature that was with him—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with Noah—every living creature on earth. This shows that God even was concerned about how scared and terrified all these animals, birds and living things on the earth were. He comfortedthem and gave them the confidence that they would not be destroyed that way any longer. What a tender Person our God is! He is even mindful of nameless and speechless animals, birds, and reptiles. Who can imagine that the Creator God initiated to establish his covenant with animals and birds to comfort them.He is a real Mystery. Indeed, our God is good.

 

Third, Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem (9:18-29). Noah had three sons - Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Japheth was the eldest, Shem the second, and Ham the youngest. Ham was the father of Canaan. Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent; it was Noah's big mistake. Ham saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside about it. He gossiped about his father's shame. That was not good. No one would do so; instead, all the sons would keep it to themselves or even try to cover up their father's shame. If anyone gossiped about their father's shame, then, they would not leave that person alone; they would fight to protect their father's name. But Ham, instead, he gossiped about it. At this, Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. The descendants of Canaan were the Sidonites, Hittites, Jebusities, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, and many others – they were the ones Joshua conquered in Canaan. 

 

He also blessed Shem and Japheth. His blessing on Shem was: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. Noah's blessing for Shem was that God would be the God of Shem. After this, God's redemption history would go through Shem's descendants, and the gospel of Salvation for all peoples on earth would be completed through Shem's descendants as well – the Israelites are Shem’s descendants; indeed, God would be known as the God of Shem. Noah blessed Japheth, saying, May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave. Japheth' descendants would occupy a large territory, enjoying prosperity. Japheth living in the tents of Shem means that his descendants would enjoy the benefits of the blessings given to Shem.

 

One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. This is something we humans do naturally. According to God’s law for the Israel people, if anyone violates this command, in God’s eyes, that person is not worth living. So,God told them to kill anyone who attacked his father or mother. Whole townspeople would gather together and kill him by stones. Honoring father and mother is the most fundamental commandment; if this command is not kept, then, the whole society crumbles down. That’s why God commanded the whole townspeople to eliminate such danger together – public execution. Sometimes, we see people attacking their spiritual parents; or even sometimes, we see scandals of famous Pastors. When people hear such scandals of great servants, they gossip and judge them. But that’s not the right thing to do. When you see people gossip about other Pastors, don’t join with them; when you see others talk about your physical or spiritual parents’ shame, don’t join in them; or even when you see your parents’ shame, don’t gossip about it; instead, you just keep it to yourself, or even cover it. Sometimes, God decides to expose their shame; if it is so, then, let it be exposed. But make sure that it is exposed not through you. You like Shem and Japheth, cover it, instead of exposing it. Then, there will be always many rebellious people who have no fear of God. They will do the job, and your hands will be clean. And God will bless you.

 

After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.

 

One Word: Be Fruitful and Increase In Number!

 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

posted Oct 6, 2019, 6:29 PM by Site Administrator

NOAH WALKED WITH GOD

 

Genesis 6:1-22

Key Verse 6:9

 

This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

 

In the previous passage, we learned that Adams sin of disobedience passed onto his son Cain, and todays passage shows its continual spread throughout the world. People seemed to be enjoying sin freely, but when sin grew to the full, they had to face Gods judgment. Noahs flood shows the principle God used in his judgment, and it is a foreshadow of the final judgment that is still to come. We pray to learn to live like Noah in this generation. 

 

First, The sons of God married any of them they chose (1,2). Look at verses 1 and 2. Lets read these verses together: 

 

1When men began to increase in numbers on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 

 

Many people wonder about the expressions, the sons of God, and the daughters of men. They think that here, the sons of God refer to angels. But in that case, then, were they good angels or fallen angels? If they were good angels, how come they would have affairs with humans, disobeying Gods creation order? If they were fallen angels, how come they were called, the sons of God? This idea is nonsense. Such an idea of divine beings having affairs with humans comes from Greek and Roman mythology, not from the Bible. Here, sons of God refer to the descendants of Seth who maintained the knowledge of God, whereas the daughters of men refer to the descendants of Cain who lived without God. It seems that in those days, God-believing people were called the sons of God just in the same way, today, God-believing people are called, Christians. Adam and Eve had so many children, but the Bible sees them just into two lines of people - the descendants of Seth who maintained their relationship with God, and the descendants of Cain who did not. In Gods eyes, these two lines of people were completely different. The descendants of Cain were at best, no matter how successful they were, nothing but of humans - daughters of men. But the descendants of Seth were the sons of God, so awesome and great. These two lines of people increased in number continually until they covered the whole world. Evil spread through Cains descendants that the whole world became a very dangerous place for people to live; at the same time, the knowledge of God spread through Sethdescendants that many people came to worship God, calling on the name of the LORD. 

 

But as time passed by, a real problem began to occur in the community of the descendants of Seth. Some of them did not live up to their title, sons of God. Instead, they began to compromise and gave into their fleshly desires, especially, in the matter of their marriage. About how they married, two things stand out: The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose. What God shows here is that they were wrong in doing these two things. But people wonder, thinking, Whats wrong in marrying that way? People, even Christians marry in that way! Thats why they come to church hoping to find a desirable marriage partner in the church. Again, we must notice that God shows here that Gods children marrying in that way is wrong. As we learned in Genesis chapter 2, originally, marriage was for God and by God; it was Gods divine institution for his purpose – we must marry for God and our marriage must be established by God. But these believers, instead of keeping their integrity as God-worshipers, didnt marry for God and by God, but they married for themselves and by themselves just like other humans; they saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Now all peoples on earth marry for themselves and by themselves, and this passage shows that such a trend began during the time of Noah. Before, the sons of God were concerned about the purpose of their marriage that they chose to marry for God and by Godmost likely choosing to marry among themselves, among the believers, being more concerned about Gods will and purpose in their marriage rather than their own preferences or their own desires. But during Noahs time, these believers compromised, and married anyone they chose, following their own desires based on outward appearance. In this way, marriage fell victim to peoples corruption; marriage was no longer for God and by God, but it became the means to gratify their fleshly desires. Once they compromised in their marriage, they came to compromise in many other things. Soon, they were no longer awesome and holy people, no longer the sons of God, but just like all others in the world. The sons of God lost their saltiness and thereby, could not function as salt, the preservative in the world any longer. Then, the whole world rotted and collapsed, inviting Gods judgment

 

Seth descendants kept their integrity as the sons of God for about 1400 years from Seth to Noahs time. Wow! They were really great people of God, indeed, they were the sons of God. Yet, this trend changed as they began to compromise in the matter of their marriage; later, they became worthless, losing all their greatness and holiness, thus inviting Gods judgment. Their failure shows us the importance of the marriage matter of God-believing people. Modern day, most Christians do not marry for God and by God, but for themselves and by themselves – this is the trend. There are many zealous young Christians who are willing to do everything for God; they are even willing to lay down their life for God; but they refuse to offer their marriage to God, saying, “I will marry the one I choose. Don’t bother!” Christians marriage never should be based on our ever-changing feelings and emotions. It should not be based on outward appearance or how attractive the other person looks. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. (Prov 31) Instead, Christians must uphold the truth of marriage that we must marry for God and by God. Indeed, it is Christians holy battle in this wicked and adulterous generation. When Christians do so, as their marriage is established not based on their ever changingfeelings and emotions, but on the rock foundation of Gods truth in Genesis, their family is strong and thereby can withstand all kinds of challenges in life. Then, no more broken families, and children can grow in sound and healthy environment, developing sound Christian characters and value system. Always remember how even those great believers, the sons of God failed!

 

We also see that the Bible blames the sons of God for the total corruption of Noahs generation - the sons of God, the believers, God-worshipers compromised, by giving into their fleshly desires in their marriage matter, losing their purity and saltiness, then, the whole world collapsed together with them.Jesus says of the believers, You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. (Mt 5:13) Unbelieving people anyway, go from bad to worse. There is no hope. But God-believing people must play the role of salt, the preservative. When God-worshipers keep their integrity, living a spiritual life, pursuing things of God, denying themselves, they bring great inspiration to the society, influencing people, being an example of how humans must live. At that time, due to their pure life and good influence to others, humanity is preserved, and society is sustained - they indeed play the role of salt, the preservative that keeps the world from total corruption. You are the salt of the earth. Your life of faith is important. You have great responsibility for the whole world. Dont compromise. Keep your saltiness. 

 

When brothers view of their marriage partner was only outward appearance, what then, did women do? They were greatly concerned about how they looked, and they struggled hard to look attractive. They worked hard, running miles and miles on tread mills, swimming in the pool, doing dietwearing thick make-ups; fitness centers were filled with women, running and sweating a lot; many fashion magazines were published, and plastic surgery was popular. They wore revealing clothes, always trying to flirt brothers, wearing all kinds of accessories. During the time of Isaiah the prophet, the women of Jerusalem were like them too. God said of them, The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. When women were like this during the time of Noah, God punished the whole world with the flood. When women were like this during the time of Isaiah, God destroyed the whole nation and sent them to exile in Babylon. Now, how are the women of our generation? Certainly, worse than them! God-believing ladies should not be like them. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. But those women who fear the Lord will be praised. (Prov 31) Again, the real cause of this problem is the Christians who compromise, and give into their fleshly desires in their marriage matter - all the Christians who compromise are to be blamed.

 

Second, The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth (3-7). Look at verse 3. Lets read this verse together:

 

3Then the LORD said, My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.

 

The phrase contend with means plead a cause or fight. It shows that God had been fighting with the sons of God to keep them from going astray too much. When people were going to sin, he caused them a lot of troubles such as car accident or flat tire, or even terrible weather. When such things happened on their way to sin, people were alarmed, had the fear of God, and thus turned their way back home. But during Noahs time, people were completely corrupt and evil that even though God caused them a lot of troubles in their life of sin and tried to keep them from going astray too much, they did not care. Even after car accident or even with broken legs or arms, they went to sin, and did not take a warning of God. No matter what happened, they were totally determined to sin and do what was evil. So finally God decided to leave them alone, saying,My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal.The expression, for he is mortal, means that, people were so flesh-oriented that they were just like mortal animals; God was disgusted with them and did not want to do anything with them any longer. So, he left them alone to do whatever they wanted to do. We see the same expression in the book of Romans. Romans 1 reads: Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Then, comes all kinds of sins, including home-sexuality. 

 

The expression, his days will be a hundred twenty years,refers to the grace period God gave them. Even though God was disgusted with them, because they were not like humans any longer, but just like animals, God did not destroy them right away. Instead, he gave them 120 years grace period. During this whole time of grace period, God would suffer whenever he watched humans, because they were disgusting in his eyes.

 

Verse 4 gives us one more clue showing us what kind of society it was. Lets read this verse together:

 

4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. 

 

This verse shows us who were heroes, who were famous. The Nephilim were gigantic tribe, of 7 feet, or 8 feet, or even 9 feet tall - they were warriors with strong muscles just like the Incredible Hulk. In Noahs days these strong muscle men and warriors were the heroes, and men of renown. They were praised and honored. When they paraded around the city, all the townspeople cheered, while women threw flowers on the ground and screamed. Hercules, Goliath! Look over here! Little boys’ dream was to be like one of them, powerful, brave and strong. All the boys struggled hard to work out in the gym and practicedmartial arts, shouting and screaming like Bruce Lee. Then, what about those with charming personality, or with great spirituality? They were not considered at all. 

 

When we apply the same standard to our society, we can measure the spiritual condition of our society. Who are famous? Who are renown? Movie stars, music stars, and sports stars - they have worldwide fame, making so much money; people are crazy for them. If they can hit the baseball well, if their music sounds cool, people dont care of whether these stars are of good character or bad character; whether they live sinful life or not, people dont care. In this way, the view of heroes or super-stars is just worldly and flesh-oriented. Certainly, our society is not that different than Noahs society. Dont value such things; dont live for such things. Dont conform to the pattern of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind in Jesus Christ. (Rm 12;2) 

 

The result of this flesh-oriented society was really bad. Verse 5 reads: The Lord saw how great mans wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The expression is really strong: Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Everyone was like that. Then, what about when these evil people lived together, what kind of community had they formed? We really dont want to talk about it - so evil, so wicked. When you live in that kind of society, you cannot trust anyone; parents cannot send children to school by themselves; even sending them to school is unthinkable, because all the teachers there are evil, and all the children there are evil, and all the employees there from the principal to the genitor are evil; living in that kind of society itself is nothing but sheer misery; it is like living in hell. When they left God, they did not become better. Instead, each person became so wicked and evil that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. And their society was full of violence and everyone corrupted their ways. Their society was so bad and their life was so miserable. People were scared of possible crimes and violence that would reach them and their children. God made the world beautiful, but man made the world a difficult and dangerous place to live. Wherever there was no human being, there was peace and beauty. But wherever human beings were found, there was murder, evil and wickedness. Dont leave God; dont rebel against God. But accept Gods will upon your life and live the life of obeying Gods command. When things go according to Gods will in your life, you enjoy a delightful life.Otherwise, your inner person changes terribly that you become wicked, evil completely that you only think about, plan about and dream about terrible things, and your life among the same kind of people becomes miserable.

 

Look at verse 6. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth and his heart was filled with pain. What an embarrassing statement this is! God did not regret that he had made cows. He did not regret that he had made sharks. He did not regret that he had made mosquitoes. But he regretted that He had made human beings. When man operated his life according to Gods original purpose, everything in the world went very well. God was so happy and satisfied that he said very proudly, Very good! But when man did not live according to Gods original purpose, he was a source of trouble for the whole world, and he messed up; he was like a wild, violent and wayward prince in a kingdom. Gods heart was filled with pain because of him. Because of humans, God became a suffering God with pains and sorrows in his heart. He endured pains and sorrows for about 120 years, instead of destroying them right away. God is love; in love, God endures pains and sorrows for the sake of people. But when sin reaches its limit, God judges. God decided to wipe all humans from the earth with the floodDo you want to make God so painful and regretful that He sent you into this world? Or do you want to make God happy and proud of you? Then, you know how you must live your life. Dont give into your sinful desire. Instead, do what is right in your day to day life. Dont compromise especially in your marriage matter. Instead, keep your integrity as the sons and daughters of God.

 

ThirdNoah walked with God (8-22). Look at verses 8 and 9. Lets read these verses together: 

 

8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. 9This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

 

Among all people, God found one person who had not compromised, but kept his integrity as a son of God - he didnfollow the trend of all other compromising believers. His name was Noah. When God found him, He must have been very impressed and happy with him. What kind of person was heVerse 9 is Noahs profile. He was a righteous man. Righteousness means right relationship with God. Even when all other believers compromised, by giving into their fleshly desires, Noah struggled hard to maintain right relationship with God. How? By doing what was right in Gods eyes, by livingaccording to Gods will and purpose. How did he look in the eyes of other compromising people? Too exclusive, too holy! Anyway, they really didnt like him, because whenever they saw him, they were reminded of their compromise and corruption; whenever they saw him, they felt condemned. So, they struggled hard to corrupt him also so that he might be one of them; they tried to persuade him, saying, It is okay to marry anyone you choose, or they tempted him, saying, After marrying unbelievers, you can evangelize them. But Noah refused to compromise; he refused to sin; instead, he pursued right relationship with God by doing what was right in Gods eyes. He was a righteous man.

 

When they failed to corrupt him, they dug him out to find fault with him, but they could not find anything wrong with him, in the matter of women and of money. He was blameless among the people of his time. Noah also walked with God. This expression shows Noahs struggle to do the things God wanted him to do. When there were many choices in regard to a job matter, he chose a job God wanted him to have so that he and God might be in the same direction; he married the one God wanted him to marry so that in the marriage matter, God and he would go in the same direction. In the matter of raising up children, he chose Gods way so that he and God might go in the same direction. Thus, he walked with God in his job matter, in his marriage matter, in his children matter, in his family matter, and in his business matter, in everything he did. That was his struggle and lifestyle. He walked with God. Other compromising believers lived their lives together with the world, valuing and pursuing what the world offeredhaving the same value system, hope and lifestyle the people of the world had - they walked with the world as the friends of the world. But Noah, instead of walking with the world, walked with God. He valued and desired what God valued, fighting against his flesh and living according to Gods purpose. While all others were like dead fish flowing down the stream, Noah was like live fish that was swimming hard against the flow. 

 

In that generation, Noah was the only person whom God could talk to, and have fellowship with, because Noah did not walk with the world, but with God. He was used by God so preciously. We want to enjoy fellowship with God – how glorious it is to talk to him and hear from him directly. We also want to be used by God for his salvation purpose. Then, we must walk with God, in our career matter, in our marriage matter, in our children matter, in our business matter – that should be our struggle as children of God today. Then, as we struggle to walk with God in our practical life that way, our value system, our desire, our hope for the future, and our lifestyle will be shaped up according to Gods desire and purpose for us, and we grow up as real children of God who can reveal Gods glory to the world. 

 

Noah also had three sons - Shem, Ham and Japheth. This means that Noah lived a normal life - he married, had children, and had a job or business to support his family. Being righteous, or being devoted to God does not mean that you should drop out of school, leave the society, go into a deep mountain and become a monk there; it does not mean that you must not marry as some humanistic people suggest. As Jesus disciples, we dedicate ourselves to Gods mission completely; as we do so, God, as He did in the beginning, pours out his blessings on us through marriage, family, and jobs. When Gods people are victorious, we all shout for joy, praising God.

 

In Gods eyes, Noah was like a star that was shinning so brightly in that dark generation. So God chose him to be his partner for his world redemption plan. He first informed Noah of his judgment, saying, I am going to put an end to all people…and told him to make an ark of cypress wood, giving him a detailed instructionThe ark would be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high with a roof; it must be coated with pitch inside and out. Then, he said in verse 18, I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife and your sons wives with you. Do you want to be Gods partners in Gods redemption work? Do you want God to talk to you and share his plan with you? If you want to enjoy that kind of glorious fellowship with God, then, be like Noah! Pursue God and walk with Him!

 

How did Noah respond? Look at verse 22. Lets read this verse together:

 

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

 

This sentence shows Noahs absolute obedience to Gods instruction in building the ark; he obeyed Gods instruction absolutely, and thereby, completed the ark. It was huge – 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Its length was one and a half times longer than a football field, and it was about 5 story building height. The whole thing was completely hand-made by Noah and his family. Using mostly primitive tools such as axes or saws, they constructed this huge ark purely from cypress trees. We can tell that it was not an easy task for anyone to build this huge ship with their bare hands. The physical difficulties were indeed great. He had to use only cypress wood, so he must have built the ark in a mountain where there were many Cyprus trees. After cutting down the trees using an ax, he had to carry them all the way to the place where he was building the ark.After using all cypress trees there, he had to travel to another mountain, looking for them, cut them down and carry them all the way back to the mountain where the ark was being built.Without any machines or forklifts, it was an extremely difficult work. He must have been exhausted many times. Moreover, while he was building the ark, the news about him spread widely among the people. In the eyes of the people, a crazy senior citizen was building a huge ark in the mountain, preaching that the judgment time was approaching. Soon the place Noah was building the ark became a world famous sightseeing attraction, and everyday many people came in large groups, 50 by 50, 100 by 100. They laughed at him and ridiculed him. Noah and his family became a byword in that generation. Sometimes, they felt like monkeys in a zoo. Such social abuse was not easy to bear.Sometimes, other sons of God came to him and lectured him, saying, God is love. Never say that God is going to judge the world. Even if Noah had confidence in Gods will for him, Noah felt difficult when other believers kept bothering him this way. But overcoming all these difficulties, not only for one year or two years, but for 120 years, Noah kept his faith, obeyed Gods command and completed the ark. This is how Noah served Gods will in his generation.

 

When we think about Noahs struggle and obedience to Gods command, we are very comforted. In serving Gods work on our campuses, we too have many difficulties – physically, mentally, and sometimes, even spiritually. Jesus says that only those who love him obey his commands, while others make excuses and compromise. What great joy we will have, when God describes our life in the same way, saying, “John did everything just as God commanded him.” 

 

One Word: Noah Walked With God

 

 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

posted Sep 29, 2019, 4:14 PM by Site Administrator   [ updated Sep 29, 2019, 10:19 PM ]


CAIN AND ABEL

 

Genesis 4:1-5:32

Key Verse 4:7

 

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

 

In the previous passage we learned about the fall of Adam, and Gods promise of redemption through the offspring of the woman. Despite mans sin, Gods love for man did not change. Right at the spot where mankind failed, God promised to send the Messiah to redeem and restore mankind to the original status. Todays passage shows us Gods love for Adams sons. Once sin started in mans life, it grew, affecting and changing mans life for worse, but still, Gods love did not change. May we open our hearts and accept Gods love for us through this passage. 

 

First, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? (4:1-7). Look at verses 1 and 2. Adam and Eve lived about 1,000 years. In the book of Exodus, we see that 70 members of Jacobs family became about 2,000,000 people in 400 years in Egypt. I assume that Adam and Eves family grew much faster and much bigger than them, because they lived very long life, and death was very rare in that society. Among all of them, the Bible focuses on two persons as their representatives – Cain and Abel. When Cain was born, Eve thanked God saying, With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man. She was the one who had fallen in sin first, but she did not remain in guilty conscience. She did not torture herself out of guilty conscience. Instead, she accepted Gods love in giving her the garment of skin, and Gods promise that the Messiah would come from her. Due to the curse on her body, during childbearing and delivery of the baby, she had a lot of difficulties; but she prayed for Gods help, and after delivering the baby, she could see that by Gods help, she delivered her baby successfully. She was happy and thankful for Gods help and for the new born baby. Now Abel was a shepherd tending flocks, and Cain was a farmer working on the soil. Then, a time came for them to come to God with offerings. This shows that even after they were banished from the Garden of Eden, still God left the door open for them to come to him and have fellowship with him. They were not redeemed yet; there was no sacrifice system yet; their nature was corrupt; yet, still God allowed them to come to him. This is Gods real desire for us.

 

These children of Adam and Eve grew in the believing environment, hearing from their parents how great the Garden of Eden was, how pleasant it was to live in it, and what command God gave them, and how they failed to keep it. The day for them to come to God with offerings must have been a big day. Both Cain and Abel prepared their offerings and brought them to God. But on that day, something unexpected happened. God looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, God did not look with favor. God accepted Abels offering, but He rejected Cains offering. It must have been a shocking event. 

 

Why did God treat them differently? This passage talks about what kind of offering they had brought to God. Abels offering was fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. Nowadays, fat is known unhealthy and worthless, but back in those days, fat was regarded most precious, tasty, and valuable; it was the best part. Also, Abels offering was from some of the firstborn of his flock. It meant that he set aside the firstborn animals for God, and then, he took for himself the next ones. His motto was, God first, and best things to God. The words, “first and best to God” shows his attitude toward God very well – his deep respect and honor to God. At the same time, they show his heart’s zealous love and thanks to God. Hebrews 11:4 talks about Abels offering, saying, By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. In Gods eyes, it was a better offering; when God saw how wholeheartedly Abel was seeking Him, He was pleased with himso God accepted him and his offering gladly. But Cains offering was different. Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. His offering was not from the best ones or from the first crops, but some of the fruits of the soil, showing that his offering was simply so so. While Abels offering was hot and tasty in Gods eyes, Cains offering was cold and stale. His offering was not well prepared, and it showed his attitude toward God – there was no reverence, no trust, no thanks, and no hearts desire for God; it seemed that he brought offerings to God because he had a lot, or because he had toSo God did not accept him and his offering. 

 

Offering is an important part of our life before God. About 1/3 of all God’s laws in the five books of Moses are about offerings. It is something we naturally do as we acknowledge Him as our God, as our Creator; at the same time, it is a must, because no one should appear before God without an offering. Cain and Abel’s examples show us what kind of offerings we must bring to God – first and best, God says in the book of Malachi, A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me? (Mal 1:6) He also says, When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? (Mal 1:8) The blind and defective animals were worthless; anyway, they would throw them away. They brought these worthless animals to God as their offering, and kept all good and valuable animals for themselves. They were contemptuous. God rebuked them saying, Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? We must bring our best to God, something very precious to us, something very important to us, not something we dont value that much. People say that they will serve God when they are old, after retirement, such as 70 years old. They want to use their prime time for themselveand give God what is leftover, what is worthless. People say, I will give up my dream of becoming the President of the USA for God. But they refuse to give up their career dream or marriage dream for God. They give God what is worthless to them, and keep what is valuable for themselves. People say that they will, rather die than denying God, but they refuse to bring one tenth offering to God with many excuses. To them, $20 in their pocket is very precious, but offering words of praise with their lips does not cost them anything. God is our Father; He is our Master. He is our Creator, and we must worship Him with all our hearts and souls and strength, by bringing all our best, and most valuable things to Him.

 

When God rejected Cain and his offering, Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. In Gods eyes, something was wrong with Cain. But Cains response shows that, in his eyes, something was wrong with God in rejecting his offering. According to his idea, God should have accepted his offeringwith thanks. Why? Because he had worked hard to produce crops and brought such precious things to God. In his eyes, his hard work should be appreciated, but God did not appreciate it. When Cain was angry and his face was downcast, God could have been angry with him also. But God did not make an issue of his attitude at all. Instead, God gave him his counseling service. Look at verses 6 and 7. Lets read these verses together:

 

6Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you so angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

 

Here we see another reason why God did not accept his offering. God said to himIf you do what is right, will you not be accepted? God did not accept his offering, simply because Cain had not done what was right in his day to day life. Right then, on the day he came to God with offerings, he looked nice like a good worshiper of God. But God knew how he had lived in his day to day life. He was like a Sunday Christian – during six days from Monday to Saturday, he lived a sinful life, doing all kinds of terrible and mischievous things, then, on Sunday, he changed his clothes, wore nice suit, and attended the worship service, singing hymns beautifully, and reading the Bible. God could not accept him and his offering, even if he came to the worship service, and even if he brought his offering to Him. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

 

Here, we learn an important lesson. God wants us to do what is right. Attending the worship service is good; bringing an offering to God is good. But more than that is doing what is right in our day to day life. Godpoint is very clear: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Yes, do what is right, and you will be accepted. As students, what is right for you to do? It is to study hard. Some naive Christians try to read the Bible even all night long, whenever finals come. They are not spiritual as they think; instead, they just avoid what they must do, because studying for finals is hard and painful - they are simply avoiding their own cross. Gods direction for them is very clear: Do what is right! After graduating from college, what should you do? Go and get a job and work hard to support yourselves and your family; be valid members of the society. Dont be scared of the competition in the society, because when you struggle hard to do what is right in obedience to Gods command, God will certainly help you. Do what is right! As shepherds and Bible teachers for college students, what is right for us to do? We must go, fish new students and teach them the Bible. When we try to do what is right for us, then, we find that we have several crosses to carry, because we have many titles - student or employee, son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, and campus evangelist. So what do we do? We struggle hard to take up all these crosses and follow Jesus as his disciples, using every flying minute effectively. At that time, we have Gods beautiful promise - God accepts us and all our offerings, because He is pleased with us. Do what is right! 

 

God’s words, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted” comfort us greatly. Sometimes, we feel guilty due to our sins or mistakes; sometimes, we groan deeply. Sometimes, we are discouraged because of our poor performance.  Sometimes, we are scared, thinking that God is angry with us. Yet, this is what God says, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” God makes everything simple: He will accept you if you do what is right. So, dont worry about anything, just do what is right! Nothing to worry about, nothing to be scared of. Just strive to do what is right in your day to day life. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” (Jn 6:37)

 

And God said, If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. Here, God shows us what happens to uswhen we dont do what is right. I am sure that you are not particularly sinful people. I am sure that you have good intention, good desire. But the problem is: Despite your good intention, if you dont do what is right in your day to day life, then, sin is crouching at your door like a lion, looking for a chance to attack you; and the minute you open the door, the minute you lower your guard, sin pounces on you and devours you, making you sinful. If you dont do what is right in your day to day life positivelythen simply it is a matter of time that you do what is sinful. This was what happened to Cain. When he did not do what was right in his day to day life, he ended up doing what was sinful – he lived a sinful life. Even if he was attendingthe worship service with his offerings, God saw everything and thereby, could not accept him.

 

Many people ask, How can I overcome my sinful nature? How can I live a good life? They cry out to God for help. What is Godanswer? What is Gods help? Gods counseling is this: If you dont do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. So, do what is right. When you struggle to do what is right, then, sin will not be crouching at your door; even, you will not have time to think about sinning. Do what is right in your day to day life, and you will live a sound life with sound heart. Then, certainly God will accept you. 

 

God also said to Cain, It desires to have you, but you must master it. Sin promises pleasures, satisfaction and fun. What sin promises sounds sweet, but God exposes here its real intention. Sins real intention is not to give you pleasures or fun, but to have you, meaning to make you its slaves so that it can control you to do whatever it desires. Many people see that their whole future will be gone if they continue to sinbut they cannot stop sinning; even if they can see that their family will be broken and everyone will suffer, they cannot stop sinning; even if they can see that they are going to hell, still they cannot stop sinning, because they are slaves to sin. Eventually, sin brings death - either they die prematurely, or they commit suicide, or they kill others, and after that, eternal death is waiting for them. This is sins desire. This is whats going on in our heart, because our nature is sinful - sin always is looking for a way to have us; this is the result of the first man, Adams sin. So, never give into the temptation of sin. 

 

And God gave him a clear direction about sin that was working in him, saying, You must master it. Who must master it? “You” must master it. Many people, when they pray for help about their sin, expect that, by God’s help, sin miraculously disappear from their hearts. Maybe, it can happen. But that’s not the way God shows. God’s direction in this matter is very clear: You must master it. Then, how? By doing what is right! Romans 8 reads: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Sin is working in us continually; it is our own nature. But we must not let our sinful nature control us; we must not let our sinful nature lead our life. Instead, we must put to death the misdeeds of the body by living according to the desire of the Holy Spirit, by doing what is right in our day to day life. Do what is right, then, you will overcome your sin, and God will accept you.

Second, The LORD God put a mark on Cain (4:8-15).When Cain received Gods personal counseling service, he should have been thankful and struggled to do what was right. He had to repent of his sinful life. But instead, at Gods counsel, he got really angry. He went out and defiantly did something more wicked than before. He said to his brother Abel, Let us go out to the field. And in the field, he attacked Abel and killed him, who was more righteous than he was. When he refused to repent, sin that had been crouching at the door, pounced on himand captured him as its loyal slave. He became an instrument of the devil and carried out the devils desire by killing his ownbrother. At the last supper, Judas Iscariot refused Jesus love to the end, then, he was captured by his sinful desire and became its loyal slave, and carried out the devils desire. If anyone refuses to submit himself to God, then, he actually submits himself to the devil to do the devil’s desire.

After the murder was done, God visited Cain and asked, Where is your brother Abel? Then, Cain replied, I dont know. Am I my brothers keeper? Even if Cain fed his anger by killing his own brother, it seemed that his anger did not subside; he was still angry, talking back to God. When Adam sinned, he was shameful and fearful, so he ran away and hid himself among the trees. But when Cain sinned, he became more rebellious and talked back to God. In this way, Adams sin of disobedience grew to Cains sin of rebellion. Do not sin, or it will grow in you continually. Look at verses 10 through 12. Lets read these verses together: 

 

10The LORD said, What have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to me from the ground. 11Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brothers blood from your hand. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

 

Finally, God exposed his sin, saying, What have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to me from the ground. What a scary statement this is! When one person is murdered, that persons blood cries out to God for justice. As the righteous Judge, God has to judge those murderers. God punished Cain. But his punishment was not about flogging him 100 times or locking him up for 100 years. Instead, God simply took him away from his present occupation, farming, and cut off his relationship with him completely. God would not let him work the ground any longer, because of Abels blood that fell on the ground by him. Also God would leave him severely alone. Until then, God tried to help him many times - He gave him a chance by not accepting him and his offering; then, he gave him his personal counseling service, showing him whats going on, and how he had been living his life, and what he should do. In this way, God had been wrestling with him to help him. But Cain rejected all Gods efforts; instead, the more God tried to help him, the worse Cain became. Finally, God decided that He would not bother him any longer; He would leave him severely alone whatsoever he did. That was Gods punishment.

We humans were created for Gods glory and Gods mission; the very meaning and purpose of our existence is God. But now, since Cain was disconnected from God, he no longer could find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life in God. Then, he would struggle all the way to look for something that would give him the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. But nothing in the world, no matter what he did, even if he married Miss Universe, and had 10 cute children, he could not find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. Throughout his whole life, he would live as a restless wanderer, looking for something that would give him the true fulfillment of his life, going from one thing to the next, only to be disappointed and feel meaningless. Thats what happens to everyone who is disconnected from God, the source of life.

 

At Gods punishment, Cain shared a strange testimony, saying, My punishment is more than I can bear.” What was God’s punishment on him? Not death sentence, not lifetime imprisonment, but basically, since he refused to be corrected, God would leave him alone. About that, he said, “My punishment is more than I can bear.” Why did he say this way? He said so, because he understood the nature of this punishment: He would be hidden from God’s presence, and as a result, he would be a restless wanderer on the earth. This punishment was so terrible that even an evil man like Cain was so troubled. Being disconnected from God is really terrible; living as a restless wanderer is really painful. Never harden your heart toward God; instead, accept God’s rebuke, repent quickly and do what is right. Cain also said, “Whoever finds me will kill me.He feared that, in the same way he killed his brother, he would be killed. When someone invited him, Hey Cain. Lets have jogging tomorrow morning. Then, Cain was shocked, saying, Why with me??!! When someone invited him to dinner, he was scared. He was the first mental patient in history, suffering from paranoia. When he was angry at God, when he talked back to God, when he did evil with a rebellious spirit, he looked bold. But he was not bold at all, but he was just a slave to his sin of anger. Inside, he was so fearful. There is no one who is bold in sinning. Look at verse 15. Lets read this verse together:

 

But the LORD said to him, Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then, the LORDput a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 

 

Practically speaking, Cain was a terrible criminal who did not show any hint of repentance. If Cain lived a long life, he would promote and spread more wickedness on the earth. Cain was a murderer, who did the first degree murder. It would be far better for the sake of the society that this kind of person wasremoved from the street as soon as possible. But God comforted and protected him by establishing a public law in regard to him, saying, “If anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then, God put a mark on him so that people might recognize who this man was, and thereby stay away from him.In this way, God protected him so that he might live a long life. Why did God do so? It was because of his love for him and his hope on him. God still hoped that Cain might come back to Him. He still hoped that if Cain lived a long life, he might have a chance to repent and come back to God. This mark was a token of his love and hope for Cain. With God as his own shepherd, Cain refused to repent or listen. Then, was there any hope for Cain to repent on his own without Gods help? Probably, only a slim possibility, if not zero percent. But still, God hoped. Love always hopes. This is the hope God has for all sinners. We can put our hope on anyone because God had hope even on Cain. In this hope, we were saved, and now are enjoying a new life.  

 

Third, Cains descendants and Seth descendants(4:16-5:32). Verses 16 and 17 shows us what kind of life Cain lived after being disconnected from God. He lived in a place called, Nod, which means, wandering. Even though he settled in that place, still his soul was wandering, looking for something that would give him the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. He then, married, had a son, and built a city. Even building a house gives us a sense of achievement, then, what about building a whole city? It is about great achievement. And he named the city after his son. In this way, Cain struggled hard to find the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of his life inachieving great things in the world, and even in his son. This is the characteristic of the descendants of Cain - struggling hard to find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment in the world, because they cannot find them in God.

 

Verses 18 through 24 mention about Cains descendants. The representatives of Cains descendants str Lamech and his children. Lamech married two wives - he was the first polygamist. He wrote a poem bragging about killing a young man for injuring him - he was like a mean gangster with mean look and angry eyes. His son Jabal became the father of all those who lived in tents and tended flocks. The expression, the father of something refers to a person who leaves a big footprint in a certain area. Before Jabal, there were many who tended flocks such as Abel. But Jabal dedicated himself to this occupation wholeheartedly and made a great success, turning this occupation into a great business; he had maybe, thousandsemployees under his care in this business, making big money. Then, so many others struggled hard to follow his example. In this way, because of him, huge industry was established; he wasthe father of all those who lived in tents and tended flocks. His brother Jubal became the father of all those who played the harp and flute. He was a musician. He dedicated himself to this hobby wholeheartedly, practicing all day long, and finally became excellent in playing the harp and flute that when he played them, people were so touched. So, whenever he had a concert, so many people flocked paying a lot of money for tickets; Jubal became very popular as a musician, receiving honor and making a lot of money. Since then, many music schools were established, and many people followed his example, trying to be world renown musicians. He became the father of those who played the harp and flute. Their half-brother Tubal-Cain was an engineer, forging all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron, developing great technology. Lamechs descendants were very successful, achieving great things in the world, developing great industry, music, and technology. In describing their life, the most outstanding things were what kind of jobs they had, how much money they had made, how successful and famous they were - these were the meaning and purpose of their life. They lived for these. They said, Music is my life. This business is my life. In this way, Cains descendants struggled hard to find something that would give them the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of their life in the world, because they were disconnected from God. When people do not know God, they try to find the meaning of their life in these things - success, new discovery, new invention, their fame in the world, titles, and positions. They are Cains descendants. Lamechs poem in verses 23 and 24, conclusively shows us how the society was - the society without God was full of violence. Despite the development of industry, music and technology, despite the great achievements of Lamechsons, the society was very dangerous for people to live, and thereby, for their own protection, they had to carry weapons. And Lamech ridiculed Gods law established for Cain; in this way, they despised God, openly attacking God. This is how modern society goes, and how so many people live their lives; its all because they do not know God and are disconnected from God. They are Cains descendants.

 

Look at verses 25 and 26. Cain killed Abel, the line of righteousness. But God reestablished it through Seth. Chapter 5 describes the life of Seth descendants. They also must have had jobs or some of them tended flocks or enjoyed music. But the Bible never mentions about such things in describing the life of Seth descendants, because such things were not important or main point in their life. The most important thing was their relationship with God, which was revealed in their names (their names are all God-related) and how they served God. As we serve God, we too get jobs, do businesses, or do music or art; but such things are not the main point of our life - what kind of job we have, or how much money we make, or how successful we become as artists or musicians are all secondary. We need these things only to support our mission life, the life of serving God. The most important thing in our life is our relationship with God and how we serve Gods purpose. When Sethdescendants pursued the relationship with God, when they strived to serve God, one important key characteristic stood out: They lived very long life, about almost 1,000 years – this was true with them generation after generation. Do you want to live long life? Live as Seth descendants, seeking Gods kingdom and Gods righteousness.

 

The representatives of Seth descendants are Enosh, Enoch, and Noah. Enosh was the son of Seth, and during his time, men began to call on the name of the LORD. The statementmen began to call on the name of the LORD shows that during the time of Enosh, the atmosphere in the society had changed that calling on the name of the Lord became a kind of general consensus. The knowledge of God had spread widely in the society. Before, the worship of God was personal matter among Seths descendants, but during the time of Enoshthere were many churches and people had worship service every week. It was a great turnover. This shows what great influence Enosh had brought to the world. Through his evangelical work, people came to acknowledge God; they had the knowledge of God and began to pray in his name and worship Him in publicNow in our society, the situation goes the opposite – the laws and regulations that are against the Bible are established more and more, and peoples general consensus and lifestyles become more and more ungodly. In this situation, our desire is that the atmosphere in our society may change – for this, we struggle hard to teach the Bible on our campuses. How great it will be when it says, ECC students began to call on the name of the Lord in the time of Sam. The statement, “They began to call on the name of the Lord” then explains the nature of what we are doing as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campus very well. 

 

Enoch was Seth 5th generation – Seth great greatgrandson. He walked with God. This means that he carefully aligned his way, his direction, his life purpose and lifestyle to Gods will and purpose, doing what God wanted him to do, instead of living on his own, or going with the world. So, what did he do? The epistle of Jude shows that Enoch challenged the people of his time with the message of Gods judgment and repentance. Through his complete dedication to Gods work, Enoch pleased God so much that God did not want him to stay on the earth any longer, but in heaven together with him right away. So, while he was alive, God took him away from the earth, and, thereby, Enoch lived a short life - 365 years. When Noah, Seth eighth generation was born, his father saw Gods great vision in his life; so he prophesied that God would bring comfort to His people through Noah.

 

Through these representatives examples, we see how Sethdescendants lived their lives – seeking Gods kingdom work and the right relationship with Him. Then, we can see what we do as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campuses. Simply, we are walking in the footsteps of Seth descendants. IndeedSeth’descendants in our generation.

 

One Word: Do What Is Right

 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

posted Sep 22, 2019, 1:16 PM by Site Administrator

GOD PROMISED THE SEED OF REDEMPTION

 

Genesis 3:1-24

Key Verse 3:15 

 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

 

In the previous passage, we learned about God’s deep concern for man’s happiness. God loved the man and he provided everything he needed for his happiness – the Garden of Delight as his mansion, freedom, his words, his mission, and even a suitable helper. If Adam needed anything more, God would give him that too. In God’s Garden, Adam could enjoy a truly delightful life only if he lived according to God’s original design. But Alas! In today’s passage, we see Adam’s fall. When Adam ignored God’s command and disobeyed God’s will, things did not go as God originally had designed. As a result, Adam lost everything, and his life became chaotic. In today’s passage, we also hear God’s voice, the voice of a shepherd that calls for his lost sheep, Where are you? Today, let’s hear our shepherd’s voice and turn to Him. 

 

First, The transgression (1-6). Look at verse1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? About the serpent, many people think that Satan disguised himself as a serpent. But then, it did not make sense that later God punished the reptile,snakes for this crime. Others say that Satan hypnotized the serpent. Again, then, it did not make sense that God punished the reptile, snakes for this crime. The clue the Bible offers is the serpent's crafty character - the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals. Many intelligent people think of themselves too highly; so they come up with certain ideas, suggestions and theories, which are too big for them to deal with, and end up serving Satan's desires, bringing great confusion and making so many people turn away from God; instead of letting their minds go so wild, they should have controlled their inner world, knowing what they can think of and what they must not think of. The serpent was crafty. The serpent tried to figure out God's intention in giving the tree and command. It was okay to think about God's intention; but the problem was that the serpent did not think of God's intention with absolute trust in God's goodness and love for humans - fundamental attitude toward the Creator God. The serpent didn't control its mind, but entertained all kinds of things, even negative ideas about God, entertaining doubt of God's love. Then, Satan had a chance to intervene and manipulate its mind, making the serpent draw a conclusion, which Satan desired. Then, the serpent struggled hard to convince the woman to accept itsunderstanding of God's intention, as if it was telling her a great secret - in that way, it pursued what Satan desired wholeheartedly - humans violating God's command. 

 

As God's creatures, we must approach God's command, God's will and God's Person, fundamentally, with absolute trust in God's goodness and love for us, just like children putting their trust in their parents, not to find some evil He might have in secret, but to find his beauty and to understand his love for us more and more. Don't be crafty like the serpent, like so many intellectuals who live as enemies of God - they become nothing but servants of Satan in destroying many people and sending them to hell. With freedom you have, live as children of God, knowing Him and loving Him more than ever. God gives you His commands so that you can enjoy a delightful life.

 

In approaching the woman, the serpent used the word of God, but not as it was. Since he had an ulterior purpose, he changed the word of God in the way he desired to serve his purpose, saying, Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden? By saying this, the serpent implied as if God had restricted them from doing anything in the garden, describing herlife miserably, planting doubt of God's intention in her heart. If anyone approaches you this way, describing God, God's people, God's church, God's mission, or anything of God in a negative way, be on your guard - behind the scene, there is Satan, trying to plant doubt of God's love and goodness in your heart. 

 

If anyone approaches you this way, implying that your parents have an ulterior purpose in telling you to study hard and not hang out with gangsters on the street, you would be mad, saying, Nonsense! Get out of here immediately and never talk to me. It seemed that the woman should be upset, rebuke the serpent, and kick it out, saying, What are you talking about? God has given us this entire Garden, and He made us the rulers. Never say like that. Get away! But instead, she entertained this kind of twisted conversation, saying, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the Garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” In her response, she also used the word of God, but not exactly as it was; instead, she omitted freedom God gave herand emphasized the negative aspect of God's command, adding, 'You must not touch it.' When we think about her response carefully, we can see that she did not grasp why God gave her the command - it was for her happiness, for her protection. She did not know God’s good intention in giving her the command. As a result, her attitude to God's command was casual. Then, she was vulnerable. Her failure shows us the importance of grasping God’s real intention in giving us his commands. That’s why meditating on God’s words deeply to grasp God’s words really is the most essential for our Christian life. When you grasp God’s real intention in giving you his commands, there you are overjoyed – you are so happy and thankful, and keep them absolutely. Without grasping it, people keep God’s commands out of duty, going through the motion, no real joy, no real thanks and happiness, maybe, hoping to go to heaven not hell. Such Christian life is boring, and such people become nothing but Satan’s toys. No wonder why so many Christians’ life is chaotic and painful.

 

Also, we see that the woman did not appreciate all the blessings God had given her; instead, she took everything for granted. And she did not have a heart's zealous love for God - no personal heart's decision to love God, but she was just doing her duty. No wonder that Satan targeted on her.

 

When the serpent approached her with some hidden motive, she showed many weak spots. Then, the serpent did not miss the chance. The serpent said to her confidently, You will not surely die. At first, the serpent looked like a believer using the word of God, but now it revealed its true identity as an enemy of God. God said, When you eat of it, you will surely die. But now the serpent said, You will not surely die. And the serpent came up with his logic of why God told her not to eat the forbidden fruit, saying, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The serpent described as if God was tricking them with this command. At the same time, the serpent stirred up her desire to be like God. The serpent gave her a big promise, saying, You will be like God, which later turned out to be a big lie. Actually, being like God was Satan's own desire, and now Satan was planting his desire in her heart. Until this time, mankind had obeyed God and walked with him in beautiful fellowship in the garden. Creation order in the garden was kept by man’s obedience to God and everything went beautifully according to God's design. Now Satan was attempting to destroy everything there, by making the woman violate this spiritual order. 

 

Being like God, this is what Satan has used to destroy mankind all the time. When this desire of Satan is planted in people, they refuse to obey God, but do whatever they want. They reject any authority over them and say, It is my life! I want to do whatever I want. This way, they reject God’s word, and God’s authority over their lives, and thus, the creation order is broken. God said, When you eat of it, you will surely die. As they break God’s creation order, so they surely die. Also, people raise questions about God’s word, saying, Did God really say that we must not marry unbelievers? Did God really say we must deny ourselves and follow Jesus? Is that the only way? Then, they compromise, and later, they even deny God’s word openly, saying, You will not surely die. Thus, the world becomes corrupt, and people’s lives become miserable; they have lost paradise. This is what Satan is doing all the time.

 

Our heart is like the soil where either God’s desire or Satan’s desire can be planted; it is neutral. As we live here in the world, we receive the messages from the world, from Satan all the time, at school, through the internet, movies, at home, from our friends, and on the streets. So, we must study and meditate on the word of God more diligently, deeply until God’s desire is planted in us fully, until our value system, our future hope, vision, and daily lifestyle are fully shaped up according to God’s design so that we can live our life here on earth according to God’s plan and purpose. 

 

Look at verse 6. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. After being tempted, suddenly forbidden fruit looked so mysteriously beautiful, good for food, pleasing to the eye, and even desirable for gaining wisdom. Actually, no fruit makes you really wise; no one thinks that way. Eating a lot cherries does not make you wise. But once she was tempted, it looked that way. So, she took some and ate it.  

 

She also gave some to her husband and he ate it. When the woman brought the forbidden fruit to him, how did Adam respond? Did he say, “Oh, the forbidden fruit. Thank you,” and eat it? I don’t think so. Instead, Adam must have been shocked, saying, “What!!! No! What have you done? Are you crazy?” He couldn’t believe what’s going on. Maybe, he rebuked her harshly;he tried to help her repent; maybe, that family had terrible argument over the matter for days. But the Bible does not mention about such things at all; instead, it talks about eventually what Adam did – he ate it. Eventually, Adam gave in, choosing his wife over God – that was his choice. At this, God was very hurt that later, he specifically mentioned about it – Adam choosing his wife over Him. In that situation, what should Adam have done? He should have stood on God’s side firmly absolutely, to the end! Then, the world history would have gone in a different direction. God wants us to stand on his side firmly in any circumstances. That’s why Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10:37) Let’s choose God, because he is our Creator – everything came from him. Let’s love God alone!

 

Second, Where are you? (7-13). Look at verses 7 and 8. After eating the forbidden fruit, many things happened to them. Their eyes were opened toward good and evil. But they did not become like God as Satan had promised; instead, they became conscious of their nakedness and felt shameful, so they made coverings for themselves with fig leaves - when they sinned, their innocence was taken away - they lost innocence; their nature was corruptWhen they heard the sound of God, they were afraid of him, so they hid themselves among the trees in the garden. Before, they enjoyed fellowship with God freely, but now, they were afraid of God and they could not enjoy fellowship with Him; their relationship with God was broken, and they ran away from Him. Because of this fear of God, they could not serve God's mission any longer - they lost God's mission, which was the very purpose of their existence. Before, they were rulers over God's creatures, created in God's image, so awesome, cool, majestic and beautiful. But now, they became strange creatures, feeling so shameful and fearful, running away from God their Creator, and hiding among the trees - they were no longer awesome and glorious, but so silly and miserable. In this way, when they sinned, they lost their integrity as king and queen; they lost their true identity as humans created in God's image, and became strange. Everything was the same in the Garden of Eden, but once they sinned, they could not enjoy a delightful life at all; the Garden of Eden became their hiding place. They lost the delightful life God gave them in the Garden of Eden. When they sinned, they lost everything - their innocence, their integrity, their own beauty, their position as rulers, the meaning and purpose of their life, God's mission, andthe relationship with God. Later, as we see, even their own relationship was broken that they no longer loved each other; whenever Adam thought about how everything started from his wife, he was angry at her and blamed her for this crime. Sin is really terrible. This is the reason why we must not sin, but fight against it at any cost. Because of sin, people lose their purity and they no longer are the same innocent people; because of sin, people lose their bright future; because of sin, people lose their family; because of sin, people cause so much trouble to themselves and to others around them - no more praise-worthy people, but a source of trouble and headaches; because of sin, their conscience is bothered and they cannot be free to love God and pursue Him; because of sin, people become like animals, losing their true value, potential, integrity and beauty. And because of sin, they die physically and spiritually. Don't take sin lightly; don't compromise with sin, but fight against it as the matter of life and death.

 

Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together: 

 

But the Lord God called to the man, Where are you?

 

God was not asking where they were hiding because he could not find them. Rather, God was asking them to see what they had become. Where are you? Where should Adam be? He should be in the mission field working hard for God's kingdom purpose. But now where was Adam? He was hiding himself among the trees fearful and shameful. He should be a ruler, and God's missionary, glorious, powerful and beautiful. But because of his sin, he became a fearful fugitive running away from God. God wanted him to recognize his fallen condition and come out to him“Where are you?” This is Jesus’ message for many Christians. He says Revelation 3:5, Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Where are you? This is the voice of the good shepherd, looking for his lost sheepWhere should we be at? As humans created in God's image and assigned to rule over the world, we must be awesome, cool, righteous, and holy, serving God's mission, rejoicing at him and seeking him. But people have lost their true identity because of their sins; they have lost their true integrity because of their love of money and greed; they have lost their beauty and value because of their lust. God sees how miserable they have become and looks for his lost people. When God says, Where are you? it is clear that He is not intending to condemn them and kill them for their sins; instead, he waits for them to recognize their lost condition, repent and turn to him; he wants to restore them. 

 

Third, He will crush your head (10-24). When God called the man, Where are you, Adam should have said, Lord, I am sorry. I sinned. Please, forgive me. But instead, he blamed his wife, saying, The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Then, the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. No one tried to take responsibility of what he or she had done. In this crime, four parties were involved - the serpent, Satan, the woman and the man, and the severity of their involvement was different. So, God, as the righteous judge, punished them one by one accordingly. Look at verses 14 and 15. Let's read these verses together: 

 

14So the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

 

God’s curse upon the serpent has two parts: God's curse on the reptile, snakes, and God's curse on Satan who worked behind the scene. The snakes would crawl on their belly and eat dustIt seems that in the beginning, the snakes had legs, just like the Chinese dragon - snake's body with four legs. John Boos, who was a snake hunter in the ancient times, says that there are traces of the legs on snakes' body. The book of Revelation describes Satan as the great dragon-that ancient serpent, called the devil. (Rev. 12:9) Also, they say that the snakes come to be aware of the surrounding environment as they stick their tongues out in the air and taste dust.

 

God said, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. God’s curse on Satan was that someday, a man would be born from a woman, and he would destroy Satan – he would be the Messiah for all people under Satan's rule, the Savior of the lost mankind. But Satan would fight him back, striking his heel, causing great pain to him - the woman's offspring would suffer a lot in destroying Satan. This prophecy is called, the pre-gospel. Since sin began with the woman, so the restoration would begin with the woman as well. This promise of God’s salvation through the woman’s offspring is the key theme that flows throughout the entire Bible. The Bible is about this offspring of the woman. Technically, in those days, the expression, woman's offspring was not possible, because, women were not considered at all, even not counted in the census - all people were men's offspring in those days and even todayBut there was one person in history that was born of a virgin, without a male involved; his name is Jesus - he is rightly titled as the woman's offspring. Jesus destroyed Satan through his death andresurrection. Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise of God.

 

Look at verse 16. To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. God’s curse upon women has two parts also. God cursed them with pains in childbearing and delivery. Other female animals do not suffer that much in pregnancy and delivery, but human females suffer a lot. Since this curse fell on physical body, women will be set free from this curse when their body is redeemed with the resurrection body. God also said, Your desire will be for your husband. Before, the woman’s desire was for God and for God’s mission; with God she would be happy. But now her desire was downgraded to her husband; she would seek her husband's love. She seeks her husband’s love, but the problem is that no husband is great enough; compared to the greatness and awesomeness of God, all males, even the world's best husband candidate is just silly to her that her soul cannot be satisfied, and thereby, she comes to have the thirst of her soul that cannot be quenched. Moreover, even if she finds the most desirable husband, his whole concern is not about loving her as much as she desires; instead, he rules over her. All women are under this curse, looking for a prince charming expecting that once they find one, he would love them and they would be happy - they all live a cursed life throughout their life. 

 

Jesus died on the cross to get rid of this curse from women so that they may not live the cursed life of desiring for husband any longer, but the blessed life of seeking God and serving God's mission as God originally designed. It is nonsense that so many women believe in Jesus, go to church, but still live a cursed life, living according to their cursed desire for husband, seeking a romantic relationship and looking for a prince charming even in the church. Jesus invites them all to Himself for true satisfaction and happiness, saying, Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again. But he who drinks the water I give him will never thirst.Ladies, do not let your cursed desire control and lead your whole life; don't live the cursed life of desiring for husband, but live the blessed life of desiring for God in Jesus Christ - this is the salvation from the cursed life in Jesus Christ.

 

Look at verses 17 through 19. Let’s read these verses together: 

 

17To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

 

Before cursing the man, God first pointed out Adam’s sin, saying, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘you must not eat of it. God was hurt that Adam had sided with his wife. 

 

God's curse on the man has two parts also. God first cursed the ground so that it might not produce food for Adam easily. Instead, the ground produced thistles and thorns. Now Adam had a new challenge - survival. His utmost concern became how to secure the next meal and survive in the world. Before, he had no need to worry about survival, because God took care of it for him; he just strived to serve God's mission, and all things were provided. Thus, he could live as God's missionary. But now, he had to survive on his own, and thereby, he could not serve God's mission. Simply, he was fired; he became a bread seeker. God said to him, By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. When people live their life for survival as bread seekers, they find no meaning at all. Unsuccessful people in the world feel miserable and empty. Successful people, after making a lot of money, don't know what to do next - simply, in their life, there is no purpose, direction or meaning at all. All humans throughout history share the same testimony all the time: Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! 

 

All people today struggle to build their career, secure their life, support their family - they struggle hard to be successful in this dog-eat-dog world. Today’s passage shows that that is the cursed life - all people live the cursed life. Even though people go to church and confess their faith in Jesus, they still live as bread seekers, not as God's missionaries. Jesus Christ died on the cross to remove this curse from mankind and bring to us the blessed life of serving God's mission. Believers must not live this cursed life any longer, but the life of serving God's mission. How? By faith in God! Jesus says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things (job, food, house, everything we need for survival in the world) will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:33) Those who do not have faith in God still live the cursed life of bread seeker in the world, but those who have faith in God can now live as God's missionaries, seeking God's kingdom work and the right relationship with God.

 

Adam received the death sentence as the representative of humans. God said, By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. Originally, humans were to live forever; God even gave them the tree of life so that they would eat from it and live forever just like God. But now humans were disconnected from God the source of life due to their sins, so they could not identify themselves with God. Then, without God, what kind of beings are they? They are nothing but the dust of the ground - no value and no beauty. For dust you are and to dust you will return. Since death came into the world, human life changed completely. During their whole life, death is present, influencing them and bothering them all the time. People are scared; parents tremble all the time; people are sorrowful, and insurance companies make a lot of money. Indeed, all mankind have been living in the shadow of death. We thank God for being mindful of our lost condition and giving us the promise of the Messiah, the offspring of the woman. We thank God for Jesus, our Savior who saves us from all these curses and gives us a new life, a delightful life as children of God. Jesus is the hope of the world; He is the light of the world. Only in him, we find a truly delightful, meaningful and fulfilling life. Praise Jesus who gives us victory.

 

Look at verse 20. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. When God cursed Satan and mentioned about the offspring of the woman, Adam grasped what God was talking about; he found the hope of life and restoration. Then, he could see the value of the woman. So he named her Eve, which means, living. Thus, his relationship with the woman was mended, and his family was restored. Then, verse 21 says, The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them. In order to cover their nakedness, they had made coverings with fig leaves. Such coverings with fig leaves were not good - they would not last; they would not cover their shame. So, God took them away from Adam and Eve; instead, he sacrificed animals, shedding blood, and made garments of skin for Adam and Eve, and clothed them. This is one key theme that goes through the entire Bible - with the blood sacrifice, humans' shame is covered; in the Old Testament, God did this with the blood of animals, but it was just the shadow of the real one to come, the blood sacrifice of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Through his blood sacrifice on the cross, all our shame and nakedness is covered. The Bible says, Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Rm 13:14) 

 

Look at verses 22 through 25. Now Adam and Eve became sinful - their nature was corrupt, no longer innocent people, but sinful people. It was never a good idea that they would eat from the tree of life and live forever as sinful people. So, God banished them from the Garden of Eden to work the ground. And he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. The tree of life was not for God, but for humans. The reason God kept the tree of life was because He had the hope that later humans would return not with corrupt nature, but as innocent people just in the way He had originally designed in the beginning, and they would eat from the tree of life and live with him forever. Now God was planning to remove man's sin problem and restore mankind to their original status so that they may eat from the tree of life and live forever together with Him. That became God’s mission to the lost world. God has been pursuing this for the past 6 thousand years, even willing to pay the highest price for it – his Son’s death on the cross. God has been really dedicated to this mission; this is what He is doing even today. This shows his real desire for us – He wants us to be restored to our original status and eat from the tree of life and live forever with Him in his kingdom. Let’s accept his love for us. Let’s put our trust in him, for He is good for us. No one knew what He was doing, but a few thousand years later, one person named Abraham finally came to know it, and he became God’s friend. Then, some time later, another person, named Moses came to know it, so he too became God’s friend. Jesus says, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” Let’s work together with Him for this purpose, to bring this lost world back to His kingdom.

 

In this passage, we learned how important it is to hold on toGod’s command and obey it absolutely - it is the matter of life and death, matter of everything or nothing. God’s command leads us to eternal life. Let’s pray that we may defeat Satan by holding ontoGod’s word absolutely. Praise God who gives us the hope of lifein Jesus.  Let's pray that we may bring this good news of God's love for the lost people to many people on our campuses.

 

One Word:Where Are You?

Sunday, September 14, 2019

posted Sep 15, 2019, 6:01 PM by Site Administrator

GOD CREATED THE GARDEN OF EDEN

 

Genesis 2:1-25

Key Verse 2:16,17

 

And the Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the gar4rfden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

 

In the previous passage, we learned about God’s creation of man. We were created in God’s image, in God’s likeness, so holy and righteous, so majestic and beautiful. We were the representatives of God Himself. We also learned that we must be rulers and conquerors in the world. It is God’s command and at the same time, God’s blessing. Because of this blessing, we now know what to do with our life, and how to live our life. Now, in Genesis chapter 2, we see the detailed account of God’s creation of man. The author spends this chapter to show how much God loved the man. May we come to know God’s love for us through this passage.  

 

First, God formed the man from the dust of the ground (4-7). Genesis chapter 1 is the introduction to God’s creation of this present world. Now in verse 4, the author sums up God’s creation of the world, saying, This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. This present world was not made by accident; its existence is not the result of natural process, but the product of God’s specific plan, wisdom and power. Genesis chapter 2, then, is the special treatise to the creation of man. Look at verses 4b through 6. It was on the sixth day, maybe, after the creation of the animals. At that time, the earth was barren because no shrub or plants sprang up yet. The phrases, no shrub had yet appeared, and no plant had yet sprung up, suggest that they were there, but certain conditions were missing that the grass and other plants did not spring up on the ground yet. Instead, streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. It was right before God created the man. How did God create the man? Look at verse 7. Let’s read this verse together:

 

The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

 God took some dirt from the ground, and molded it into a shape, like a potter or like an artist molding a sculpture, maybe, six feet tall, 180 lbs, two hands, 10 fingers, two feet, and a big brain. Thus, he formed the man from the dust of the ground, but it was not a living being yet, but just a lifeless body. Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and it became a living being. As God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, his heart began to beat, and the blood circulated. The air filled his lungs, and the man began to breathe. The man, suddenly opened his eyes, and sat up and looked around. Maybe, he bowed to God and said, Hello, Lord! Who are you, and who am I?

 

Verse 7 shows that humans were made of two components -the body that came from the dust of the ground and the breath of life that came from God. The real essence of human is the breath of life, which we call, spirit, while the body is just its container. Human is such a unique creature, having both the spirit and the body. Since we have the spirit, we can have spiritual fellowship with God who is Spirit; at the same time, with the body, we can take care of all the physical world God created. We humans stand between God and this world, between the spiritual world and the physical world. Simply, we are God's stewards toward the physical world. 

 

Since we have the body, we have the desires and needs that come from the body such as eating, drinking, resting, sleeping, and playing the soccer. But that's not all. We have the spiritual desires and needs - our spirit yearns the fellowship with God; our spirit seeks God; our spirit wants to worship God; our spirit desires Bible study and prayerJesus described those who are not connected to God as dead people because their spirit is not born yet. People must be born again, only then, both their spirit and flesh are alive. It seemed in the beginning, our spirit and body worked harmoniously. But when Adam the first man sinned, our body was cursed, and it was no longer harmonious with our spirit; instead, now, they - body and spirit - are antagonistic. If we give into the desires of the body, our bodily desires grow stronger and stronger, while our spiritual desires grow weaker and weaker. As people do so continually, their spiritual desire diminishes all the way that eventually they have no more spiritual desire; instead, their fleshly desires control their hearts and life completely, making them animal-men, some even sub-animal men. The other side of the coin is true too. Some people deny their physical desires; instead, they give into their spiritual desires; as a result, their spiritual desires grow bigger and bigger, while their physical desires diminish; as they pursue the spiritual desires continually, eventually, their fleshly desires no longer bother them; their hearts and life are controlled and led by their spiritual desires - they live spiritual life, doing what pleases God, growing up in God's image continually. 

 

We were slaves to sin, because, when we didn't know Jesus, we lived according to our fleshly desires; at that time, we didn't bear any good fruit, but the shameful and sinful fruit, deserving death penalty. But now by God's grace, our sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit gave birth to our spirit, and we are given another chance to live our life. In this second chance, we must not mess up again. If we live according to our fleshly desires in this new life, we die, bearing bad fruit again - then, what's the meaning of Jesus' salvation grace to us? Instead, we must bear good fruit in our life in this second chance. Therefore, now we have an obligation in Jesus Christ, that is, to live according to the spiritual desires, instead of living according to the fleshly desires. The Bible writes: Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not toward the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Rm 8:12-14) 

 

Second, God planted the Garden of Eden for the man(8-15). Look at verse 8. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. After creating the man, He chose a certain area on earth, and made it beautiful and gave it to the man as his special gift. While the rest part of the earth was all barren, the Garden of Eden was beautiful-- all kinds of fruits that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. There were a lot of gem stones also. Actually, if it was just for solving food problem, God did not need to make the fruits beautiful - making them tasty should be more than enough for survival. Or, if it was just for solving the man's lodging problem, God did not need to give him a lot of gem stones. Why did God give such things to the man? He did so because he could see that with such beautiful fruits, with such special materials, the man would be really excited and happy. When we think about these carefully, we can see that God's real intention was not just to provide the man with minimum things for his survival, but to make him enjoy his life freely - with all kinds of fruits that were pleasing to the eyes and good for food, with all kinds of gem stones. The word, Eden means, Delight. God indeed provided everything the man needed to enjoy a delightful life. God had deep concern for man's true happiness and satisfaction. A delightful life, this is what God desires for us to enjoy in Him. A river was flowing in the garden, and it was separated into four headwaters. All the ancient human civilization developed by the river, because the river provided them with most essential things for human life - water to drink, to wash, and fish to eat, and transportation. Wherever the river flowed, there was a chance for human life to flourish and communities to be developed. God's blessing was present in the Garden of Eden, and God designed that His blessing would spread to the four corners of the world from the Garden of Eden. When God's blessing is found in someone's life or in some place, God never wants His blessing to stay with that person or in that place alone, but it may spread to others, even to the ends of the earth. God's blessing has reached you, and now it is God's will that from you, His blessing may spread to others, even to the ends of the earth. 

 

Look at verse 15. Let’s read this verse together:

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

 

Here, the expression, to work it and take care of it, shows what the man should do with God's special gift - the Garden of Eden. Obviously, God did not put him there so that he could just lie back in a hammock drinking beer all day long. He must work it and take care of it so that the Garden might be in a good shape all the time and thereby, he could enjoy it continually, even forever. If he neglected this, then, probably, flood might damage the garden here and there, many plants might die, animals might be injured, and when things went that way continually, the Garden might be like a thick jungle, completely out of control. Adam the first man must work it and take care of it, then, he would enjoy God's blessing continually, even forever. “Work it and take care of it.” This is what God wants us to do. A beautiful family is God's blessing. But when people don't take care of their families properly, they lose God's blessing - their families are broken, they have deep wounds and scars, bitterness, and their children suffer terribly. God gives us a job with which we are amply provided. But if we don't take care of this blessing by neglecting our duties, or getting tardy all the time, we will be fired. A beautiful church is God's blessing. We must take care of this church so that good spiritual environment may be preserved, and that we may be encouraged to love God and serve Him wholeheartedly. Otherwise, sin of the world smears into our church, and humanistic people increase in number, influencing other people, then, the church loses its spirituality, and it becomes like a social club in the world. God must be the focal point of our church – our church’s goal must be God’s name be hallowed, God’s kingdom come to our hearts and life, to our families and campuses, God’s will be done in our life, in our family, in our state, in our country, and in the world. When God's blessing is given, we must work it and take care of it so that we can enjoy it continually - this is what God wants us to do.

 

When we think about this passage carefully, we can see that God has deep concern for our happiness - His heart's desire for us is that we may enjoy a delightful life. And for this, He is willing to provide everything we need - beautiful scenery, delicious fruits that are pleasing to our eyes also, and even gem stones - gold, aromatic resin, diamonds, sapphires, rubies,... Many people think that God wants to utilize them for his purpose, but that’s not true. Frankly speaking, what can you, humans with those feeble limbspossibly do for God who is Almighty? He is all powerful and all sufficient, and he does not need our help. On the contrary, it is God who does everything for our happiness, and for our happiness, he gave us the Garden of Eden as his special gift. And for our happiness, He commands us to work it and take care of it. Trust in God and do what God commands you to do, and you will find yourself enjoying a delightful life as God has designed. 

 

Third, “The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (9; 16-17). In the middle of the Garden of Eden, there were two special trees - the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is one major theme that penetrates the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis 3, we see God saying, The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. This shows that, even after sinning and being cursed by God, if they ate from the tree of life, they would live forever. So, the tree of life is not about eternal life that we can enjoy through having fellowship with God; rather, the tree of life was about having physically everlasting life. Our physical body is subject to the law of physics. If you use your joints, walking, jumping and running a lot, your joints deteriorate. Living forever means that this aging process is completely reverted and all the tissues and cells in your body are completely renewed and refreshed each and every day. The tree of life was for this purpose - complete refreshment, renewal of our body so that wemay be ever new, ever fresh, full of life power, we stay youngforever. How great it must be when we are completely renewed and refreshed each and every day - our body will be full of life, no sorrow, no worry, no fear, but you can enjoy your life freely to the full. Actually, this is what all humans desire; this is what the First Emperor of China looked for; and this is what many scientists worldwide search for even today. But this is not what God allows humans to do, because living forever with sinful nature is not good at all. So, God banished them from the Garden of Eden so that they would not eat from the tree of life and live forever with sinful nature. His plan was to get rid of sin from humans and restore them to their original status and then, let them eat from the tree of life and live forever as He originally had planned in the beginning. This is what God’s redemption plan is about. God pursued this for several thousand years. For this, God sent His Son to the world to die on the cross to solve man's sin problem and then, after restoring everything, in the New heaven and the New earth, He let them eat from the tree of life and live forever in his kingdom. This is what we see in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, and that's the conclusion of God's redemption or restoration plan. God says in Revelation 22:14, Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates in to the city. The tree of life produces 12 different kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month; it restores, recharges and refreshes our body completely; even its leaves are for the healing of the nations. How great it will be when we eat the fruit! If you want to taste it, you must wash your robes, which means, repentance and living a clean life in Jesus Christ.

 

In the Garden of Eden, Adam was free to eat from this tree. Did he eat from this tree before his transgressionMost likely! If I were there, above all other things, I would first eat from this tree; on the first day, I would work for God wholeheartedly, and then, eat from this tree. Actually, the task of naming all the animals and birds alone must have taken many days, or weeks or even months. During this time, he must have eaten from the tree of life, and he was recharged and refreshed fully. But after sinning, he could not be recharged any longer; then, this one time fully charged life lasted for about 930 years. But when his life battery ran out, he could not be recharged, thus, he simply collapsed. 

 

But there was one tree, which God commanded the man not to eat from - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Look at verses 16 and 17. Let’s read these verses together: 

 

And the Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

 

This is called Adam’s Bible, very short and easy for Adam to memorize the entire Bible. Here, God told the man about the danger of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This shows that, even if the man was like God as a sovereign being, he was not god like Him. Even though he was free, it did not mean that he could do whatever he wanted. Instead, there was a certain danger in his life, and he must avoid it; otherwise, he would surely die. How would he know about that danger? He did not know it on his own, but God knew it and warned him about it. That’s what God’s commands are about. This tells us a lot about humans. We have freedom to do whatever we want, because God created us as sovereign beings just like Himself. Yet it does not mean that we can do whatever we want, because, in our life, in the world, there are many dangers, which we must avoid; otherwise, we end up doing what we are not supposed to do, and as a result, we dieThat’s why God gives us his commands, telling us what to do and what not to do. Never be vainly conceited; never think that you can do whatever you want to do. Instead, remembering that there are many dangers in your life, be very careful to obey what God commands – that’s how you can enjoy a wonderful life in Jesus Christ continually.

 

God could have programmed the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil just in the same way He forbid lions from eating grassThen, the man would never even think about eating that forbidden fruit. But God did not do so. Instead, He was willing to take that risk by confirming with him his freedom to do whatever he wanted, because He wanted the man to choose to obey God's command out of his own choice. When the man did so, it would be obvious that he honored and respected God and he had his heart's desire to please God. When he did so, God would be pleased because the man chose God out of many other choices. Then, the relationship between God and the man would become personal and their love would be mutual. When Jesus came, Satan offered him many good looking ways of life with wealth and power and glory, but Jesus turned down all these offers, and chose to obey God's command, even if it meant for him to live a poor life and die on the cross for others; by choosing to obey God's command, he remained in God's love, and God really loved him. As humans, we are free to do whatever we want; it seems that there are many ways of life we can choose - the life of pursuing great wealth, or the life of pursuing a comfortable life with a good career, or the life of pursuing a romantic relationship or a happy family, or even the life of pursuing fame as scientists. But when we choose to obey God and live according to God's plan and purpose, rejecting all these options, we prove that we have our heart's desire for God - that is love; when we choose to obey God's will despite so many pains and difficulties, there we prove that we truly love God.With your freedom, what do you want to do? To gratify your own desires in the world? Or, to please God?

 

When we think about the command, we can see that God did not demand Adam to do anything, because it was not the command of doing something, but the command of not doing one thing - simply, don't do it, and you are free to do whatever you want - no burden, no pressure. It is like God commanding a poor college student, “Don’t drive Ferrari.” God did not require him of anything for his life. God's intention was not to restrict Adam of anything. Also, when we think about the statement, when you eat of it, you will surely die, we see that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was like deadly poison. God put such lethal poison in the garden, and warned the man about it, saying, Be really careful! When you eat of it, you will surely die. Many people blame God for this, saying that, because God put the tree there and gave Adam the command, Adam was tempted and sinned. As a father, I will never put such lethal poison in my house. If I ever put deadly poison in my house, then, it means that it must be there - there must be an absolute reason why it must be there, and after putting it there, I would warn my children about it thoroughly, saying, Never, ever come closer to that; never eat it. It is deadly. Other people say that God put the tree there and commanded the man not to eat from it to see whether Adam would obey him or not; simply, they think that God tested him with this tree and the command. But again, no father tests their children with such poison - what if...? Then, it is our logical conclusion that there was an absolute necessity for God to put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the gardenIt meanthat, if the tree was not there, the man would be in greater danger

 

What greater danger was there? What absolute necessity was there that God had to put the tree and give the man this command? With this command, one thing became clear to Adam that there was God who was above him, and that he must obey God's command. Simply, by giving his words of command, God established this spiritual order between God and the man. Establishing this spiritual order was so crucial for Adam that even if there was such a great danger, God still did so. Man was above all other things; he was king, ruler; also, he was so beautiful, powerful, wise, and insightful; he was so awesome and wonderful that all the creatures honored and respected him; they loved him and obeyed him happily. Then, there was danger that Adam would think of himself too highly, thinking that he was the one to be praised and honored. Actually, that's what happened to an angel, called, Lucifer. When God bestowed upon him such beauty and power and exalted him highly, he wanted to be equal with God; he went beyond his position and became God's enemy, Satan. God never wanted such a terrible thing happen to his beloved creature, humans. So, by giving this command, God made Himself present in the life of Adam, establishing the spiritual order between God and him. Now with perfect freedom he had, Adam must keep this spiritual order by choosing to obey God's command out of his own choice, and for his own happiness and life; as long as Adam remained in this spiritual order by obeying this command, he was king, ruler over all God's creation; as long as he remained in this spiritual order, he was free to enjoy God's blessings, a delightful life in the Garden of Eden. But once he went beyond this spiritual order, he would surely die; keeping this command was the matter of life and death - absolute command. 

 

In the beginning, the man was sinless, completely pure and innocent; he was beautiful and glorious; he was in the right relationship with God, enjoying such wonderful fellowship with Him. Yet, God said to him, When you eat of it, you will surely die. In the same way, in the New Testament, for his disciples, even his 11 apostles, Jesus issues his command with a warning, saying, Remain in me,… apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (Jn 15:4-6) We can see how serious Jesus is about this. Yet, so many people ignore his warning; they conveniently go beyond Jesus’ will and purpose in their career matter, or in their marriage matter, in their family matter, in the matter of raising their children. They think that because they still go to church, or say that they believe in Jesus, they will be okay. All these people really wither moment by moment, losing thejoy of salvation in their hearts, losing such peace and happiness in them, and they just go through the motion instead of having real life in JesusWhen God says, For when you eat of it, you will surely die, they must pay attention to his message. When Jesus says, If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned, they must take his message seriously. 

 

God’s command is not restricting, but God gives us his commands, showing us what we must do and what we must not do so that we can avoid all dangers in life and enjoy a truly blessed life. His commands lead us to really beautiful, fulfilling and fruitful life. Jesus says, I know that his command leads to eternal life. (Jn 12:50) Let’s accept God’s commands and keep them. 

 

FourthIt is not good for the man to be alone (18-25).Look at verse 18. The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. After each day’s creation was over, God said, Good. After finishing his six days’ creation, he said, Very good! But now, in the Garden of Eden, in his special gift for the man, he found something that was not good, that is, the man was alone. So he decided to make a helper suitable for the man. So what did he do? He first brought all the animals to Adam and asked him to name them. Without knowing what’s going on, Adam named all the animals one by one, using his wisdom and insight. When he saw an animal with a character of barking, he named it, dog, – the root of this word has the meaning of barking. One animal ran fast skipping joyfully, so he named it horse, which has the meaning of skipping. In this way, he named all the animals accordingly and finished the job successfully - maybe, it took several weeks, or months. As the conclusion of this task, verse 20b reads: But for Adam, no suitable helper was found. The reason why God brought all these animals and birds to Adam and asked him to name them was to see if any of his creatures would be a suitable helper for Adam. But Adam never named any animal helper, coworker, or even wife. Wheww!!! Thank Adam! SGod decided to make one newly. He first put Adam into deep sleep (the first anesthesia in history), and while he was sleeping, he took out one of his ribs and closed up the place with flesh. It was the first medical surgery ever performed in history. Then, from the rib, he made a woman and brought her to the man - the first genetic engineering ever performed in historyGod brought her to the man - God was the matchmaker. When Adam saw her, he immediately recognized what she was about - a creature that was taken out of man, so he defined her, Wo-man. And he fell in love with her and made his love confession, saying, This is now the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” It was the love at the first sight. And they married.The whole event went wonderfully, more exciting, touching and romantic than Hollywood movies.

 

Here, we see what women are about. Woman's official title is, a helper suitable. The expression, a helper shows that God made her for this specific task, the mission of helping the man to do God's work more effectively. Man was for God's mission and now woman was for God's mission also. Together, they form a dream team for God's mission. That was God's design. And God would fulfill this purpose through marriage. So, marriage is what God designed for his own purpose; it is God's institution.

 

In this passage, we find what marriage is about, the truth of marriage. Now, everybody marries when he or she comes to their age. Also, nowadays, people do not want to marry so that they can enjoy their lives freely. And even, these days, the concept of marriage has been corrupted, and many are confused about marriage. What is marriage? Where did it come from? What is the purpose of marriage? Marriage is something God established for His own purpose. Adam had no sense of problem; he was just happy to do God's work and enjoy the Garden of Eden. But while he was working hard for God, it was God who had a sense of problem, saying, It is not good for the man to be alone. So, he established marriage to make everything good in his creation. Sometimes, zealous young people say, I will be like the apostle Paul, serving God alone without marriage. And they work hard, even serving 20 Bible studies a week. But God says, “Uhh! What is that? Not good.Marriage is from God, and for God's mission, so we must marry for the sake of serving God's mission more effectively. And when we marry for God's mission, then, God says, Very good,and we are happy. Also, it was God who prepared the marriage partner. He was the One who had searched for a suitable helper for Adam, even going through all his creatures; he was the matchmaker. So, their marriage was established by God. Marriage is from God, for God, and by God - this is the truth of marriage. 

 

Today, people reject God and do not live by the truth. Especially, in the matter of marriage, they do not hold onto this truth of marriage; people don't marry for God and by God, but for themselves and by themselves. They marry relying on their emotions and feelings, saying, I love him. Sadly, the foundation of their marriage is their ever-changing emotions and feelings. One year later, their romantic feelings are gone, then, they have no reason to keep their marriage relationship. Or even at the slightest challenge of life, such as character differences, or some bad habits such as just throwing their dirty socks on the floor, their feelings change completely, and the foundation of their marriage is gone. Some others marry for a practical reason such as financial benefits - that is the foundation of their marriage. Then, when they do not need such benefits, they have no reason to keep their marriage relationship. At life's challenges, all their own foundations of marriage are destroyed so easily, and so many families are broken, and so many people are left with such wounds and scars, sorrows and bitterness, and their children are confused, scared and scattered. This broken family is a source of all kinds of evil in our society. And now bad people corrupt marriage more and more that people don't know what marriage is about. Marriage is an institution God established for His own purpose; our marriage should be established for God and by God. Then, no more broken families will be there, and no more children will suffer.  

 

Look at verse 24For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Before marriage, a man belongs to his parents’ family that was established for God and by God, but now through marriage, he forms a separate unit with his wife. Then, this new unit is ready to serve God’s mission powerfully. In this way, new and independent units for God’s purpose spread continually through marriage until the whole earth is filled with people who have the image of God. Marriage is God’s divine institution that serves God’s purpose. Marriage stands at the center of God’s plan. With this marriage, God’s creation was indeed completed.

 

Verse 25 describes the first marriage couple’s happy life, by saying, The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. They had confidence in each other, and they had nothing to hide from each other. This kind of perfect trust relationship is possible only in the families established by God and for God.

 

In this passage, we learned about God’s deep concern for mankind. His desire is not to use us for his purpose, but to bless us for our own happiness. Out of his deep concern for our happiness, he gave us the Garden of Eden, his command, and established marriage. Only if we live according to his desire and purpose, then, we will truly enjoy our life, and we will be happy. Let’s trust in God that he has deep concern for our happiness, and by faith, obey his commands. This is the way of true happiness. 

 

One Word: God Created The Garden Of Delight For Us

Sunday, September 8, 2019

posted Sep 8, 2019, 6:41 PM by Site Administrator

GOD CREATED MAN

 

Genesis 1:26-2:3

Key Verse 1:26

 

Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

 

In the previous passage, we learned God’s proclamation of His creation in Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Also we learned that after each day’s creation was over, God shared his testimony saying, Good.But after creating man, he said, Very good. Man was created especially great manifesting the eternal quality of God very well.Today’s passage covers the creation of man in detail. In this passage, we learn why God said, Very good, after creating man. May God bless this worship service and open our eyes to see what kind of beings we are.

 

First, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...(26-27). Look at verse 26. Let's read this verse together:

 

Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

 

When God wanted to create light, he simply said, Let there be light, and there was light. When he wanted to create the expanse, he simply said, Let there be an expanse, and it was so. But when God wanted to create man, He first shared his plan saying, Let us make man in our image….. To God man was very special. This verse shows that, before creating man, God had a plan of what kind of being he was going to create, what kind of job he was going to give to him, and how he was going to create him. So this verse is like a blue print for man. We are humans. By the way, what is a human? What kind of beings are we? Verse 26 shows that God created humans in his image, in his likeness. This simple expression alone, In God's image, in God's likeness, makes distinction between humans and all other creatures; it shows us what we humans are. We are God's creatures uniquely made in God's image and likeness.

 

What is image? Image is inner resemblance. For example, when I see Roberto, I am reminded of someone else, because he carries that person's imageGod created us in his image so that when other creatures saw humans, they were reminded of God - they saw God's image - that was God's original plan and purpose in creating humans. So, in the beginning, seeing humans or staying with humans or having time with humans must have been really a big thing to all other creatures - they could see God's holiness in their words and actions; they could see God's compassionate heart, patience and kindness through humans; they could see God's justice and righteousness in the lives of humans. All the creatures must have respected and honored and loved humans so much. Just seeing them was like seeing God Himself. When the first man Adam had the image of God, he was great, a very romantic person with great insight and wisdom. When God brought to him his wife, Eve, heimmediately recognized what she was - a beautiful creature made out of himself; so he defined her as wo-man, and made his confession of love right at the spot so poetically, saying, This is now the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…(Gen 2:23) He was great. But after committing sin, the image of God in him was damaged greatly that he could not love even his wife genuinely. So instead of bearing her weakness, instead of taking the responsibility of his wrongdoing, and his wife’s fault, he dumped all blames on her, saying, The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.(Gen 3:12) He became an ordinary person just like people we see everyday

 

We were created in God’s image – this shows us a lot about what God had in mind for us. Even though God is invisible, and even though He is completely holy, totally different from all the creatures, he wanted to make himself present among them through humans so that all might know him, revere him and render glory to him. God’s original plan was that we, humans, might be his representatives in this visible world, revealing his image to the world - his holiness, his righteousness, his sacrificial love, patience, kindness, compassionate heart, humility, and justice. He designed that his glory might be revealed in the lives of humans. Humans are to be that kind of glorious beings, so righteous and majestic in words and actions. This was God’s original purpose for humans. This is what God wants us to do – we reveal God’s image in our words and actions, in our life. This is our supreme duty as humans. 

 

That’s why Jesus encourages us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. That’s why Jesus encourages us to be really great, by humbling ourselves, by considering others better than ourselves, by serving others instead of trying to occupy higher positions, even by being a slave of all – that way, Jesus wants us to pursue true greatness – that way, God’s image may be revealed in and through oulives. That’s why Jesus commands us to love one another. The apostle John says, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1Jn 4:7-8) What does it mean to love? The Bible says, Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it does not keep the record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1Cor 13:4-7) Think about you living in such a wonderful way – in your words and actions, you are so loving, caring, kind, gentle, meek, compassionate, thoughtful, understanding, humble, considering others better than yourself, serving, sacrificial, not self-seeking, not selfish, not proud, not rude,… You live that way at home, at work, at school and in the church. When you see anyone living in that way, how do you consider them? They are so great! As you live that way, being so mature and revealing the image of God, indeed you bring glory to God. This is what God wants us to do today and tomorrow in our day to day life. This is God’s original purpose for us, our supreme duty as humans in Jesus Christ. 

 

Being God-reminders, revealing God's image to the world is all mankind's supreme duty - the very reason why we are breathing today. But, due to their sins, many people end up exchanging the image of God for the images of reptiles and animals. Some people due to their cruelty carry the image of snakes - they remind other people of cold-blooded vipers. Some others remind us of pigs due to their greed. Originally, the animals were to love, respect and honor humans because they could see the glorious image of God. But now, instead of seeingthe image of God, they only see the images of reptiles and animals in them. That’s why lions and tigers become angry and growl at people and even want to devour them. What they wantto see is not the image of reptiles and animals, but the glorious image of God in humans. Romans 8:21 says that the whole creation has been groaning, waiting for the appearing of the children of God. Let’s live as the representatives of God so that God can be revealed to the world in and through us. Don't exchange the image of God for the images of reptiles and animals only because of your sins. 

 

God also made us in his likeness. Likeness is outward similarity whereas image is about inward resemblance. God created us in his likeness. It does not mean that God and us are the same; it does not mean that we are gods like Him, but it means that God and we have a certain similarity - similar characteristics that when other creatures see us, they are shocked, shouting, O my. You are like God! In what sense are we like God? What similarity do we have with God that we are like Him? In the Bible we see God being described as the Sovereign Lord, meaning He plans, decides and chooses. God created us to be sovereign beings just like Himself. Other creatures like cows or lions were not created in his likeness. They are not sovereign beings. For example, even though a lion may die for starvation, he never tries to eat grass; simply, it is unthinkable. A cow may die for starvation, but it never tries to eat meat; simply it is unthinkable. Five thousand ago, they lived that way, and today, exactly the same way - they simply live in the way programmed by God all the time. 5,000 years ago, what did the fox say? Hatee-hatee-hatte-ho! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! What does the fox say today? Hatee-hatee-hatte-ho!Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! The same thing; they never change. Monkeys have never come down from the trees and tried to build 5 story apartments. 3,000 years ago, they lived on the trees, enjoying a Tarzan game, and today, they do the same, and they will do the same until God changes. But humans are different. We keep developing technology, music, and industry to make our lives better. 3,000 years ago, mostly people lived in one story houses, but now people have built tall buildings like Burz Khalifa (2,717 feet) in DubaiWe have developed airplanes to fly in the sky; we have developed boats and even submarines. We think, choose and decide as sovereign beings just like God.We are not programmed; we are not limited. In this sense, we are like God, and thereby, humans are no ordinary creatures. Never compare humans to monkeys, or pigs or sharks.  

 

God also says, Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. As we studied in the previous lesson, God created the world in three domains – the air, the water, and the land, and filled these three domains with all kinds of living creatures, natural resources such as oil, iron or diamond, and natural laws. And now God created man so that man might rule over these three domains of the world on behalf of God. In other words, for this divine mission of ruling over the world, God created mankind. Shortly, for this job, or for this mission, God created us. If we omit this task from our life, then, suddenly we lose the meaning and purpose of our life, no reason to stay and compete with others any more. Without God’s mission, we have no reason to stay on earth any more. This is the reason why so many people suffer from the sense of meaninglessness, and even commit suicide. Some people think that only some special people like pastors and missionaries should serve God’s mission. But that’s not true. Collectively speaking, we, humans, were created for God’s mission, and if you think you are a human, then, you were created for God’s mission; you must accept God’s calling and serve His mission. Cows are there to provide milk and meat; that’s God’s purpose for them. Lions are there to hunt downother animals. As they obey God’s purpose, the food chain is maintained and everything goes well according to God’s plan. In the same way, we, humans must serve God’s purpose as well

 

Second, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth; subdue it; rule over (28). Look at verse 28. Let's read this verse together:

 

God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

 

Now after creating men in his image, and in his likeness, God gave them his mission assignment, telling them what to do according to his creation purpose for them. About this mission assignment, verse 28 says, God blessed them and said to them.This makes us think about what God's blessings are. Nowadays, all people value money. So, when people earn a lot of money, they think that they are blessed. All people struggle to secure their life with a career job; so if some people have a career job, they think that they are blessed. People yearn for a happy family, so those who have a happy family are considered blessed. But these blessings are all relativistic. Some people have earned a lot of money, but their practical life is so miserable - very boring, having no direction for their life any longer, no motivation for anything in the world; instead, their life is corrupt with many sins and their children are spoiled terribly. When people have secured their life with a good career, they lose real spirit, and just go through the motion, without having any real passion or spirit - even Christians have the same problem. We must not pursue those things; instead, we must understand what real blessing is about and we must pursue it. Genesis chapter 1, verse 28, shows us what God's real blessing is about: here, we see 5 verbs, and they are all in command form – Be fruitful, increase in number, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over. This shows that God giving us his commands is real blessing. In what sense? God tells us what to do, and because of this command, we know what to pursue, and live for; having this clear mission, having this clear goal of life that comes from God is God's blessing. Because of this, our life has a clear direction, purpose and goal. We no longer say, I don't know what God wants me to do. We don't say, I don't know what to do with my life.

 

Many people consider God’s commands a burden, saying, We are free from the laws in the New Testament Period. They are really mistaken. God giving us his commands is real blessing. How will it be, if you don’t have God’s commands in your Christian life? What kind of Christian life will you live then? Maybe, going to church once a week, doing this for 40 years or 50 years, without having no real content of Christian life – such boring life – it is miserable. At best, you become a Pharisee, or you perish in that endlessly meaningless religious things. God giving you his commands is real blessing! God giving you a task to do, God’s mission, God’s calling is real blessing.

 

The first three commands - be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth - show us God's vision for humansThey carried God's image; they were great people, holy, righteous, and glorious, and God's vision was to see that the whole earth was full of such great people who revealed His image in their words and actions. As they increased in number, they would need the laws and regulations for their life in the community. Then, what kind of laws and regulations would they make? They were the ones who revealed the image of God in their words and actions; their views and understanding, their desires and hopes were so beautiful and glorious as God designed. Then the laws and regulations they established would also reflect God's justice and righteousness, God's holiness and beauty very well - full of justice, but at the same time, revealing God's compassionate heart very well. Maybe, their law would say, If you are very hungry, it is okay to pick some grapes from others' vineyard, but if you bring in a bucket into a vineyard, you are stealing and thereby, you are guilty. You must pay back the victim 120% of what you stoleand you have to bring a sin offering to God for the forgiveness as well. Maybe, their law would say, If you get a speeding ticket for Bible study, you can be forgiven; but if it happens continually, then you are guilty. When you live in that community, you would have nothing to worry about; you would be indeed free to love God and enjoy your life - such a community would be a dream country. God's vision was to see the whole earth filled with these people who revealed the image of God. God had indeed an amazing vision. Now, they had to pursue this vision in obedience to God's command - in that way, they would live a blessed life.

 

Then, as they pursued this vision of God, they might come to have some challenges and difficulties. What should they do with those difficulties and challenges? Subdue it. Rule over...Despite difficulties, they continue to pursue God's vision, wrestling with all challenges, and somehow overcoming them, and putting them under their full control. As they pursue God's vision despite all challenges and difficulties, their life becomes so dynamic, action-packed and powerful; their spirit is alive; and as they live this kind of dynamic, action-packed and powerful life, they are so happy and satisfied with their own life; their life carries real value and meaning, and they are truly satisfied. This is the blessed life. 

 

I really honor all our shepherds and shepherdesses. In this very wicked and adulterous generation, in which all people pursue money and pleasures, you refuse to live that kind of life. Instead, you struggle to love God and serve his flock. Indeed, such people are holy to the Lord. Then, God's vision is not that such holy people just remain in a small city, Gardena alone. Instead, God wants such holy people to be fruitful and increase in number - you would produce many more people who reveal the image of God, form a big community, fill this South Bay area, Los Angeles County, and the state California with them - a big community of people who reveal God's image to the worldOnce we fill California with such great people of God, then, God's next vision is to fill America and the whole world with disciples of Jesus. This is God’s vision for us. This is God’s will and command for us. As we pursue this vision of God, we may have some difficulties and challenges. But we don't despair; we don't shrink back; instead, we struggle hard to fight them and overcome them. At that time, we come to have many exciting, great, and glorious exploits which we can tell our children and grandchildren later, and which we can share with angels in heaven. Many mighty generals rise, mighty kings and queens rise among us, and God's glory is revealed. As you accept God's vision and pursue it, you are really blessed, and you enjoy a truly blessed life. In the year 2019, let's increase in number and fill our schools with Jesus' disciples. God blesses us and commands us, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the whole world!

 

Third, They will be yours for food (1:29-2:3). Look at verses 29 and 30. Let's read these verses together:

 

Then God said, I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food. And it was so.

 

Here, we see God giving humans their food - every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it will be yours for food. In verse 28, we saw God giving them his blessings, his mission assignment. He told them what to do with their life and what kind of life they must live and what they must pursue - be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the world. Originally, humans were not to be concerned about what to eat and how to survive, but they were to serve and pursue God's mission, and as they pursued it, God took care of their practical matters - food. Since God gave the humans all the fruits as food, they would just work hard for the task God gave them, then, when they were hungry, they would grab some apples and bananas and eat them, never worrying about storing up  foods in the barns, just like birds in the air, just like animals in Africa. When things went in the way God originally designed in the beginning, humans had no worry about the security or survival, but just focused on serving God’s work. 

 

Then, after Adam’s transgression, mankind developed anungodly society, and we were born into this world, and we are living in the society where we have to pay the bills to survive. In this situation, how should we deal with this security matter? This is a good question. This is not a small matter. God knows that we have this challenging matter. So, Jesus talks about this in detail in Matthew 6. The basic thing is that we should not worry about what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear. All the pagans who do not know God worry about such things, and out of fear and greed, they run after them. We Christians, Jesus’ disciples, children of God should not go that way. Instead, Jesus comforts us, saying, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Jesus never says, “Don’t worry about your career. You don’t need it.” But instead, he says that our heavenly Father knows that we need food to eat, water to drink, and clothes to wear, meaning God is going to help us with this security matter. Then, he gives us a clear direction of how we should solve this security matter, saying, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Instead of worrying about the security matter and thereby, doggedly pursuing it, Jesus asks us to give our first priority to serving God’s kingdom work and having the right relationship with God, saying that when we do so, all these things will be given to us as well. As we strive to serve God’s work wholeheartedly by faith, a good job that can support our mission comes to us. This is God's principle from the beginning. And even in giving humans food, God gave them what was best - all seed bearing plants and fruits for humans, while just green plants were given to all other animals and birds. Originally, monkeys were not supposed to eat bananas, but only humans. In this way, as you pursue God's mission all the way, God will give you very good career jobs, far better than the jobs your colleagues have. 

 

Look at Genesis 2:1-3. Let's read these verses together:

 

1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

 

Now in six days, God’s creation was completed, and when God saw all that he had made, it was very good. He was so satisfied and happy with what He had done; it was so great that He wanted to celebrate his six days' creation. So He chose the seventh and made it holy. The word holy means set apart or simply different. In order to celebrate his six days creation, he chose the seventh day and made a distinction between the six days and the seventh day by not working on the seventh day – he did this much to celebrate his six days creation, showing how satisfied and happy he was. In verse 2, the word, rest is Shabath in Hebrew. This was the beginning of the Sabbath day. 

 

God issued a decree to keep the Sabbath day holy even in the beginning, showing that this is one fundamental thing we must keep absolutely. Actually, the Sabbath is one of the key themes that penetrates the entire Bible. Even in the beginning, God issued the Sabbath, and about 2,500 years later, when he established the Israel people and gave them his laws, one major thing that was emphasized among all 613 laws was the Sabbath – the Israel people would keep the Sabbath absolutely. Then, in the New Testament, we see the Bible talking about entering into real Sabbath, eternal rest. Hebrews 4:11 says, Let us therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. We are waiting forthe day when we enter this eternal rest. For the Christians in the New Testament, the Sabbath is Sunday worship service. Let’s keep it absolutely.

 

How can we have rest on the Sabbath? By not working at all, but sleeping for 20 hours on Sundays? That’s painful. How can we have rest on the Sabbath? There are two sets of the Ten Commandments – Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. They are identical word by word, except the fourth commandment, which is about keeping the Sabbath day holy. In Exodus 20, the reason why God asks us to keep it holy is because he completed his creation in six days. He wants us to participate in his joy of completing the creation of the heavens and the earthwonderfully in six days. When we remember God’s creation, when we remember how wonderfully and fearfully he created us, when we remember that he created all things good, we are really happy and thankful. There, at the worship service, as we give thanks to God and praise Him for his wonderful creation, we are renewed in spirit; we are refreshed and recharged to go and do his work continually. There, in thanking and praising God for his creation of us, we find true rest for our souls.

 

In Deuteronomy 5, the reason why God asks us to keep the Sabbath day holy is because of his salvation grace. When we remember how God delivered us from our slavery to sin, how he saved us from such terrible misery and brought us into this new life in Jesus, we are very happy and thankful. There, at the worship service, as we remember God’s amazing salvation grace upon our life and thank Him and praise Him, we are truly renewed in spirit; there, we find true rest. That’s how we can find rest in him. Keeping the Independence Day once a year is enough. Even keeping our anniversary once a year is enough. But remembering his creation and his salvation and thanking Him and praising Him is so important that God commands us to do it every seven days. 

 

We thank God for creating us in his image and in his likeness. God created us wonderfully and fearfully. Let's reveal God's beautiful and wonderful image as His representatives. God already blessed and commanded us to be fruitful, increase in number and fill the earth. Let's fill our schools and California and even the world with the disciples of Jesus. 

 

One Word: In God’s Image, In God's Likeness!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

posted Sep 1, 2019, 4:35 PM by Site Administrator

GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH

 

Genesis 1:1-25,31

Key Verse 1:1 

 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

Genesis is the first book of the 66 books of the Bible. The English word Genesis means origin. In this book, we see the origins of many things – the origin of the universe and everything in it, the origin of sin and death, the origin of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the origin of nations and languages, the origin of marriage and family, and the origin of the chosen people Israel, and much more. We pray that through studying this book, we may meet the God of Genesis, and find ourselves before Him.

 

First, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (1:1). Lets read verse 1 once again. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. When: Here, the phrase, In the beginning refers to the beginning point of time and space. From this time on, things came to exist. In eternity, God chose a certain point to start his creation of the heavens and the earth – that beginning point was called, “In the beginning.” By the way, how many years ago was that beginning? The Bible shows that it is about 6,000 or maybe, 7,000 years ago, and all ancient written documents or archeological records show that the human history is about 6,000 years, and even with generous assumption based on the archeological records, less than 10,000 years. For example, Google shows that civilization first began in 3500 B.C., along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East – maybe, this was the area where Noah’s family settled after the flood. Again, Google shows that from the same area, the Sumerian kingdom first appeared in archeological records around 3,100 B.C., and lasted about 1,000 years. This historic record really fits for the Bible’s record as well. After Noah’s flood, those 8 people who had survived the flood multiplied quickly that when Noah died about 350 years later, the population was about several million. There, they established a kingdom, and all people togetherbegan to build the tower of Babel, and God stopped them and scattered them by confusing their language. Then, some people went to India and developed the Indus River Valley Civilization around 3,000 B.C. My country, Korea’s history began with a kingdom that was established in 2,333 B.C., and lasted until 108 B.C. These are what the archeological discoveries and ancient written documents testify in regard to human history. It’s about 6,000 years, or maybe 7,000 years. About 6,000 years ago was the beginning of everything. But wicked people, coming up with sophisticated sounding formulas, say that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old; or they say that Homo Sapians, the first modern humans appeared in Africa about 200,000 years B.C.and by 8,000 B.C., there were 5 million people. (ref. https://humanhistorytimeline.com/) This is what United Nation Population Department says. Now the world population is 7.7 billion. United Nation Population Department shows that in 1975, the world population was 4 billion, and it will be 8 billion in 2025; it takes about 50 years to double. This is normal. I checked out how many people should be there today, if there were 5 million people in 8,000 B.C., and found that according to their suggestion, the population should be so big that even the whole universe cannot contain them. When you go home, please check it out. If we say that there were 2 people in 6,000 B.C., considering the age of the earth as 8,000 years, there should be several thousand billion in the USA alone. What these people say, what Evolution suggests, what Big Bang theory talks about – these are all lies – the wicked people’s struggle to remove God’s name from the society. Don’t be deceived by such lies.   

 

In the beginning, about 6,000 years ago, God created the heavens and the earth. Who: Here, we see that even before the beginning point of time and space, there was God! He is beyond time and space. John 1:1 specifically testifies this, saying, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. What kind of person was God? In Genesis 1, Gods name is Elohim, which means, a God of power,emphasizing Gods mighty power - God created the heavens and the earth with his mighty power. Also, Elohim is in plural form in Hebrew. God is a Spirit, but in verse 2, we see another person, named, the Spirit of God. And in verse 26, we see God saying, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness... Later, theologians came up with the understanding of the Trinity God. Our God is the Trinity God - Three Persons in One God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In the beginning the Trinity God created the heavens and the earth. 

 

What: The heavens refer to the spiritual world where the spiritual beings such as angels live, and the earth refers to the planet earth. So, Genesis 1:1shows that God is the Creator of both the spiritual world and the physical world. Colossians 1:16 reads: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” God create the heavens and the earth. After this proclamation, God does not talk about how he created the heavens, what happened to the heavens, what he did for the heavens, what would happen to the heavens. Instead, in the entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, God just focuses on what happened to the earth, what he did for the earth, what would happen to the earth. We can see that the earth is very important to God. Why? Its because we humans who live on the earth are important to him. You are important to Him. What happens to you, how you live your life, and what you do are all important to God.  

 

The word, create is different from make. The word, create is bara in Hebrew, which means to make something from nothing, while the word, make is asah in Hebrew, which means to make something from other resources. Genesis 1 uses these two words very distinctively. In verse 16, we see God making the sun, the moon, and the stars, and here the word asah” is used, indicating that God used some resources to make the sun, the moon, and the stars. In verse 25, we see God making the land-animals, and here, the word asah,” indicating that God used some resources in making the animals. What resources did God use? In verse 24, we see God saying, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds:... God used the land as resources in making the animals. In verse 26, God says, Let us make man,... indicating that God used some resources in making humans. What resources? As we see Genesis 2:7, God used the dust of the ground to form human body. But verse 21 talks about God creating birds and sea creatures - here the word, bara is used, showing that God did not use any other resources, but created them out of nothing. Now verse 1 proclaims that in the beginning, God created, God bara the heavens and the earth. God created the spiritual world and the physical world from nothing. All things that are visible and not visible did not come from what had been made, but from nothing, and the only cause of their existence was God Himself. Indeed, God is the cause of all these things. They are from God.

 

Genesis 1:1 is the first verse of the first book of the entire Bible, and here, from the beginning of His book, God proclaims as the Creator of everything, saying, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the book of Isaiah, God says, I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give glory to another, or my praise to idols. (Isa 42:8) Throughout human history, people try to give glory to gas, amoeba, monkeys, and even aliens. But God proclaims in his book that it is He who created the universe and everything in it, by saying, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. These simple words sound so solemn and awesome demolishing all man-made sophisticated stories and theories. This proclamation brings bright light into our lives, showing us who we are, where we came from, and how things came to exist. Actually, all philosophers and scientists struggle or concern is about this - who, what, where, and how - because, without having answers to these questions, all people are in complete darkness, without knowing who they are, or what they are, and why they are here on earth. One unbelieving philosopher, after much consideration of these question, said, Why havent you committed suicide yet? That’s the only conclusion people can have, if anyone is really sincere about such questions without God. One scientist suggested that we came from amoeba, and the whole world welcomed his idea and developed it more and more that nowadays, they say that our closest relatives are sharks and pigs - people feel really awkward. Another scientist suggested that a big explosion called, Big Bang created the universe and this beautiful earth, and you and me. Many so called brilliant people welcome this idea, but no one believes that terrorists bombing creates beautiful world. People are simply crazy. People say such things not because they have any knowledge about the origin of all these, but because they deliberately deny the existence of God; their whole purpose is to remove God’s name from human society. Don’t be deceived by such lies.

 

What is the truth? God proclaims in Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. All things we see and hear about came from God, and all things exist because of God. This simple sentence unlocks the infinite mystery of the universe: What is the universe? The universe is the creation of God. What is the big Pacific Ocean, which supplies unlimited amount of seafood, especially sashimi? It is the creation of God. God made her. What am I? I am the creation of God. God created me and sent me into the world for His absolute purpose. Thats why I am here. Thats what I am. When we realize that we are Gods creation, we can boldly say to the world, I am a child of God. I came from God and I am going back to God.

 

Now, we need to stop a moment and think again about verse 1. We realize that there is God who created us; this establishes a certain relationship between God and us - He is our Creator and we are his creatures. When the relationship is set, then, a certain code of conduct comes. How should we treat him? What should be our attitude toward Him? The fundamental attitudes we must have toward God are gratitude and respect. Our parents gave birth to us, so we honor and respect them - thats our fundamental attitude toward our parents; if anyone does not honor and respect his or her parents, that person is sinning, and even according to Gods commandment, such a person does not deserve to live so long. Likewise, we must honor God as our Creator and appreciate him for creating us, for giving us this life. Romans 1 specifies that mankinds two fundamental sin problems are ingratitude and not glorifying God. Give thanks to God for who He is and for what He has done for you. 

 

Also, now as we recognize Him as our Creator, we come to have a question: Why did He create us? Why did He send us into the world? We must figure it out, because thats the very purpose of our existence - the purpose of our life. And once we figure it out, we must live for it; otherwise, we are in rebellion against God, and we have no direction for our life. These are the two fundamental obligations we have as Gods creatures. How can we know Gods purpose for us? God wrote a book taking about 1,400 years, introducing Himself to us, showing us who He is, what He has done for us, and what He wants us to do. Thats why the Bible is Gods special revelation - He specially wrote about Himself, his works, and his plans. So, now it is mankinds obligation to study the Bible and figure out who He is and what He wants us to do, and once we figure out His purpose for us, we must live for it. 

 

Second, Let there be light (2-25). Look at verse 2. It reads: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. When God created the earth in the beginning, the earth did not have any form whether square or round; it was formless, empty and dark. Now the earth is beautiful – solid land and beautiful oceans all separated. The earth consists of 70% water and 30% the land. But the earth in the beginning was not like this. All things were mixed together, water and the dirt, gas and oil, and everything else so that it was very sloppy, clumsy and gooey; there was no atmosphere. It had no form, and once anything fell on the earth, it would sink all the way down like a stone in a sloppy, muddy pond. There was no real solid substance either, and there was no light - pitch black. That was the primitive form of the earth in the beginning. It had no beauty, no real value or substance. But verse 2b shows that the Spirit of God was working continuously - the Holy Spirit was incubating this primitive form of the earth, doing His creation work continually. Then, when the right time came, God arranged things properly - dirt to dirt forming the land, water to water forming big bodies of water such as the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the earth became beautiful. 

 

In verses 3 through 25, we see how God transformed the primitive form of the earth, which was formless, empty and dark, into the earth we live on, harmonious and beautiful. The first thing He did was to create light. Verse 3 reads: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. The first word of God echoed in the universe was, Let there be light. Then, out of nowhere, bright light shone into the darkness, and things became visible. This light is the source of energy and power. That was the beginning, the first day.

 

When we did not know God, when we messed up by doing what we were not supposed to do, we were in deep darkness; we couldnt see any direction, or hope or vision for our life. Then, God created light in our hearts through his words; when Gods word was given to us, we began to some hope and vision for our life, the hope to start all over again, the reason to live, the reason to study and work hard. That was the beginning of our life in Christ Jesus our Lord. About this, the apostle Paul says, For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6) 

 

On the second day, God said, Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water. So, the planet earth was covered with atmosphere, and above it, was the layer of water. Then, on the third day, God separated water from dirt, and made the seas and the land. Then, God commanded the land, Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. Suddenly, from the land, living plants sprouted and grew up, from little bushes in the desert to the tall and awesome red trees, and all kinds of fruit trees – delicious Washington apples, monkeys favorite bananas, avocados, grapes, peaches, and mostly my favorite: California oranges and big plums. 

 

On the fourth day, God created the sun, the moon and the stars, so that they might serve the earth. On the fifth and sixth days, God created fish in the sea and the birds in the air, and all kinds of living creatures on the land. God created the earth in three dimensions – the sea, the sky, and the land, and filled these three dimensions with all kinds of living creatures. In the sky, the bald eagles, the symbol of the USA, night owls, seagulls, Jack sparrows, pigeons and doves, and in the ocean, killer whales, sharks, turtles, and red snappers, and in the land, tigers and lions, dogs and cats, rabbits and wolves...  

 

During these latter three days creation, we see the expression, according to their kinds, or according to its kinds repeated. God created the plants, birds, fish, insects, and animals according to their various kinds. So far, according to Google, 14,000 different kinds of butterflies have been found; 12,000 species of ants have been found. Ant is small, maybe, less than two inches in size, and it has a simple structure - 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen), and 3 pairs of legs. If he designed 12,000 different kinds of ants based on these simple structure, then, it means that he can design more; the only limit is God himself; when he decides to stop, that is the limit. Gods wisdom is infinite. During winter, we see snowfalls – billions upon billion snowflakes fall, but amazingly, all the snowflakes are unique. There are 7.7 billion people in the world, but they are all different from each other, having different DNA; all their pupils are different; all their fingerprints are different. Who could imagine this kind of things? Gods wisdom is infinite. Think about the beautiful sky. We are never bored about the sky.

 

At the same time, whatever God designed came to exist, showing Gods almighty power. With his infinite wisdom and power, God created the world wonderfully - not a boring world at all, but really wonderful, with such great variety. Sometimes,we feel that there is no way out; we feel stuck there. But in Gods eyes who has infinite wisdom and power, there are ways all the time; just turn to God for help and He will guide you out of your dilemma. 

 

By the way, how did God create all these? When we check out the passage, we see the expressions, God said, and it was so repeated. When God said certain words, things were formed according to his words. At Gods command, things that were not there came to exist; at Gods command, oceans were formed and trees grew; at Gods command, the land produced animals and dogs began to bark and horses ran. Hebrews 11:3 reads, By faith we understand that the universe was formed at Gods command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. This shows that Gods word carries Gods mighty creation power. When we think about how we came to have this new life, we see that God did his creation work through his words as well. When one word of God was given to us, Gods word created life in us, that even if we had been dead, we crossed over from death to life - at Gods command, a great miracle happened. There are so many people that are dead on our campuses - their spirit is dead that they cannot show any response to God who is Spirit - it is impossible for them to have any spiritual relationship with God. But when Gods word is heard in them, Gods word creates life in them and they too cross over from death to life. People desire real change in their life; every year, they come up with the new years resolution, but eventually, nothing changes - they are still the same - weak, sinful, terrible. Nothing can save them from their doomed condition. But Gods word can create light and life in them; Gods word can change them from children of destruction to children of God; Gods word can make their lives beautiful and fulfilling. Those who wrestle with the word of God are blessed, because they offer God a chance to do his creation work in their heart and life.

 

Third, It was very good (4,10,18,21,25,31). In each days creation was over, God shared his testimony. Verses 4, 10, 18, 21, 25, and 31 say that God saw what he had made each day, and it was good. It means after creating light, God said, Good! Wonderful! It means that he was satisfied and happy with what was created each day. If anything was not satisfactory, then, like a potter who is not satisfied with his articles smashes them to the ground, God would delete it, and start all over until it came out perfectly as he designed. This shows us that fundamentally, each day, his creatures existed for only one purpose, that was, to please God. Anything that did not please God had no meaning to exist. Light existed to please God. The tress, birds, fish, and animals existed to please God. We humans were created to please God. For his own happiness and satisfaction, God created the world. We exist to please God - this is the purpose of our existence. There are only two ways of life - one is to please God, and the other is to please humans, i.e., ourselves, our parents, our children, or others. We must not live to please humans but God alone.

 

The fact that God made everything to his satisfaction and said, Good, also shows how good all his creatures were. When Mozart composes a music piece and says, Good, it means that the music piece is really good, manifesting Mozarts quality as a musician very well. In the same way, when God, after making a certain thing said, Good, it meant that it was really good, manifesting Gods quality as the Creator very well – his infinite wisdom and his almighty power.  The first thing God made was light, and it was good. Light is still a mystery - how the sunlight travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second from the sun, and how it supports all the lives on the earth, how leaves of the plants transform the solar energy into delicious food through photosynthesis - such design, power, mechanism and organization all manifest Gods eternal wisdom and power very well. Indeed, the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1) When God saw this, He was happy and satisfied. In this way, the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, fruits, animals and everything in the universe were well made - simply, they are good, well manifesting God as the Creator. 

 

In verse 25, after creating the animals, God said, good.But after creating man the same day, He shared his joy, saying, Very good! This indicates that humans are his masterpieces. Each person is very great, perfect and glorious in Gods eyeswhen they live in the way God originally designed. In each person, Gods glory, Gods wisdom and Gods power are packed fully. So when God sees him, He says, Wow! Very good! Wonderful! Beautiful! There cannot be any inferiority complex for God-knowing people, who know Genesis chapter 1. No fatalism or defeatism in Gods masterpiece. Some people may brag about how brilliant they are, saying, I am a Harvard graduate, or saying, My nose is higher than yours. Then, we say, I am growing in Gods holiness, becoming like Him in love, in righteousness. I praise God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Gods works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14.) God created us so greatly so that we can reveal His glory to the world. This is our life purpose. What is the purpose of our existence? It is to manifest Gods wisdom and power through our lives. Why do I exist? To reveal His glory and please Him! Thats why we must struggle to live inthe way God originally designed; that’s why we must live inaccordance with his will and purpose. When we do so, we are found as pleasing children to God.

 

By the way, the fact that each day in his six days creation, God made everything good shows what kind of Person our God is. He is a good Person who has no ill intention; evil cannot stand before Him. He is a good God. He will never backstab anyone; He will never betray anyone. When you trust in Him, you will never be disappointed. When you entrust your life in his hands, you can be rest assured that He will guide you according to his good and perfect plan, and you will be satisfied. I pray that we all may trust in Him completely and follow Him wholeheartedly doing whatever He asks us to do.

 

In this passage, we studied about Gods creation of the universe. Who is God? He is the Creator who created the universe and everything in it. Because of him, the universe exists. Because of Him, we are here. So we must respect Him and thank Him - we must worship Him. Also in this passage, we learned that God created us so wonderfully and fearfully so that we can manifest His glory, His wisdom and His power. As the heavens declare the glory of God, we too must reveal His glory. Lets pray and struggle hard that we may bring glory to God through our life here on earth. Also lets pray that we may live as His pleasing children in Christ Jesus. 

 

One Word: In The Beginning God Created The Heavens And The Earth

 

 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

posted Aug 27, 2019, 6:23 AM by Site Administrator

LIKE THE STARS FOR EVER AND EVER

 

Daniel 12:1-13

Key Verses 12:2,3

 

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

 

First, “Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered” (1). Daniel chapter 12 is the epilogue of the book of Daniel. In this chapter, the holy one showed Daniel how the world would end and what would happen at the end of the time. Look at verse 1. Let’s read this verse together:

 

1“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 

 

In the previous passage, we saw the holy one telling Daniel about the wars between the king of the South and the king of the North. There, he mostly was zeroing in on Antiochus IV Epiphanes because he was the foreshadow of the Antichrist. Today’s passage focuses on the end time, because the rise and persecution of the Antichrist is directly related to the end time. The holy one says that, when the Antichrist starts his persecution against the Jews with an intention to annihilate them, the archangel Michael will arise to protect them. He does not say that the archangel Michael will come down from heaven with a big sword and have a ninja style sword fight with Satan; but rather, the holy one says that Michael will arise. Revelation 12 talks about some help given to the Jews to flee from the persecution, saying, “The woman (referring to the Jews) was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place, prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times, and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” (Rev. 12:14) Maybe, this is the role of the USA for the Jews during the last days. 

 

The Antichrist’s persecution will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. The Holocaust was really a horrible time for the Jews beyond imagination. But once the Antichrist starts his persecution, it will be far worse than that. But the holy one says, “But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” During that time, how much effort he or she makes to escape from the slaughters is not important. The most important matter is whether our name is written in the book of life or not, because, everyone whose name is found written in the book, will be delivered. In this matter, no one should just assume that their names are already there in the book. Instead, with a fearful and trembling heart, we must do all possible things to make sure that our names are written in the book. One time, someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” On that day, people will come to the gate of heaven and knock, saying, “Sir, open the door for us.” But Jesus will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.” At this, they will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught us in our streets.” How confident they were that they were in the fellowship with Jesus, eating and drinking with him; they were confident that they were taught by Jesus. But Jesus will reply, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” (Lk 13:23-27) In other passage, they called Jesus, “Lord, Lord!” They even drove out demons in Jesus’ name. So, they assumed that they were already saved. But Jesus never knew them and thereby, they were called as “evildoers” and rejected by Jesus. About salvation, no one should assume anything. We are all like students waiting for the finals. How do you prepare yourself for the finals? You study hard, memorizing everything you need; even when you have memorized everything, you do not relax. Instead, you still get up early in the morning, and practice all questions over and over again. In this way, you do your best. That’s how you prepare yourself for the school finals. Then, how much more should you do your real best, making all possible efforts, for your eternal salvation? That’s what Jesus is talking about – “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and will not be able to.” About this, the apostle Paul says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12) Never assume anything in this real final. Instead, make all possible efforts to make sure that your names are written in the book of life. Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.

 

Second, “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever” (2-4). Look at verses 2 and 3. Let’s read these verses together:

 

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

 

In the last days, there will be the resurrection of everyone - both good and bad, both righteous and unrighteous. At that time, each person’s eternal destiny will be determined - some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Everyone will be judged or rewarded according to what each person has done here on earth, how they have lived their life, or what they have pursued in life. It is like all peoples are waiting for the finals, or all people have a court day that will determine each person’s eternal destiny. Again, even for the finals at schools, we are so concerned and struggle hard to prepare ourselves thoroughly to get good grades. Then, how much more should we for this real final?

 

What will be the standard at the judgment? Verse 3 reads: "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Here, God shows us who will be greatly blessed and rewarded there. Wow! God shows us the questions and us correct answers for the finals in advance so that everyone can pass the finals and receive all A’s. Two categories of people will be blessed greatly – they will be victors; they will be all A students, receiving great scholarships and grants for eternity. One group of people are “wise people.” “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens.” At this, some people say, “I have no luck in this, because I am not wise.” But that’s not what God is talking about. In Daniel 11:33, we already learned the definition of “those who are wise.” Wise people are those who instruct many in the way of the Lord, even at such risk or danger; even if they may be killed by the sword, even if they may be burned in fire, even if they may be captured and plundered, even if they may lose great chances for money or pleasures, they instruct many in the ways of the Lord. With such dedication and absoluteness, they struggle to instruct others in the ways of the Lord. They are the ones who live as Bible teachers, shepherds and shepherdesses. They are wise because they use their resources – time, money, talents, and youth – most effectively, in most meaningful way, while others waste their resources in pursuing worthless things. Jesus in the New Testament, talks about this as well, saying, “Use your worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Lk 16:9) This passage gives us such confidence of what we are doing as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campus. In God’s eyes, we are wise people who struggle to instruct many in the ways of the Lord, despite rejections and persecutionsAgain, in what sense are those who teach the Bible wise people? They are wise because they are preparing their eternal future very wisely and effectively. Simply, we are wise investors who invest so wisely for the eternal retirement plan, far better than 401K. One time, Jesus felt very sorry that children of God are not as shrewd as the people of the world in regard to their retirement plan. Jesus says in Luke 16, “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the people of the light.” For their retirement plan, for their future, the people in the world struggle hard, sitting on hard chairs so long, struggling to memorize and understand their subjects so that they can secure their bright and promising future; they do all they can do to understand how the job market would change; they analyze everything to foresee how the stock market would move. But strangely, the children of the light don’t care about preparing their eternal future in heaven. They take everything for granted and assume that they will receive a rich welcome and reign with Jesus forever, while they themselves don’t do anything for their future or for God’s kingdom, but pour out their energy and time on things of this world that will perish; they are foolish investors. They are not wise at all. Those who instruct many with the word of God, those who live their lives as Bible teachers are wise people in God’s eyes, because they are storing up their treasures in heaven, and they will receive great reward at the resurrection. You will shine brightly in the heaven.

 

The next group of people who will be greatly blessed and rewarded at the resurrection is those who lead many to righteousness. “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever.” When we think about this carefully, we see that actually, they are not different from the first group of people who instruct many with the word of God. The word, “instruct,” already comes with the meaning of guiding and leading. Those who instruct many with the word of God help them repent of their worldly desires and dreams and encourage them to submit themselves to God, leading them to righteousness, to the right relationship with God. This description helps us what we must aim on as we teach others the word of God – our Bible study should not be about just giving them some more knowledge or understanding of the Bible, but about leading them to righteousness. In other words, our Bible study has a purpose; it is not our volunteer service – it is to help them have right relationship with God – for this, as we teach them the word of God, we encourage them to repent of their sins and worldliness and surrender their lives to God. Through Bible studies, we lead them to God. Our goal is to lead many, not few, or one or two, but many – all our sheep, even all college students in the world, to the right relationship with God. Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever.

 

Shining like the stars is amazing. In the previous passage, we saw Gabriel’s glory; it was great. Then, we saw the glory of the holy one – his body was shining like chrysolite. His glory was so awesome that, as he approached, as he talked to him,Daniel’s system kept shutting down. God’s promise is that, if anyone is wise and thereby leads many to righteousness, he will be given such glory that he will shine like star for ever and ever. Then, he does not need to tell others who he is, or what he has done, because his glory that shines around him will tell who he is and thereby, everyone will recognize him as a glorious being and show honor and respect. That will be his own glory to keep forever. That will be his identity in eternity. Don’t you want to be such glorious ones? Don’t you want to have that kind of glory? Yes, we all want such real glory. When you have such glory, you just stand out and everyone recognizes you and bowdown to you; no one will ignore you. This is all people’s desire. People struggle to have titles and positions, authority and power, thinking that once they have such things, they will be stars, being in the spotlight. But they never shine even if they have secured such things; instead, in many cases, they stink due to their smelly sinful life. They do not have real glory. But now God promises us that if we are wise and thereby, lead many to righteousness, He will give us such real glory, and we are to keep it forever – it will be indeed ours. Let’s live as Bible teachers, even hard-core Bible teachers who are completely dedicated to instructing people in the way of the Lord. Let’s pursue this mission wholeheartedly so that we may lead many to righteousness.

 

Look at verse 4. Let’s read this verse together:

 

But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” 

 

God's direction for Daniel was to close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. It seemed that such revelation must be shared with people as soon as possible. But God commanded him to seal it up, not to expose it to others, butonly Daniel himself would know it. Why? God shares the reason why, saying, "Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." This statement describes people’s struggle to have knowledge – their whole concern is to have more knowledge, and more shocking knowledge – for knowledge, they run here and there. Then, what about putting what they know or learned into practice? They have no concern about it – even though they hear such a glorious revelation from God, even if they know by God’s revelation about how they can shine like the stars for ever and ever, simply, they don’t do it – they don’t live as Bible teachers; they don’t struggle to lead many to righteousness; they just want to amuse themselves with this kind of shocking knowledge, having no desire to obey God and serve Him. So it is of no use for them to have this kind of glorious revelation. Telling them such a glorious and divine secrets of the kingdom of God is simply like tossing a pearl to a pig. So, God told Daniel to seal it up and bind it so that these people who are so casual to God, those who are not sincere to God, may not know it. Simply, they are not worthy of this kind of glorious revelation from God.

 

In the book of Isaiah, we see the same thing. God said to Isaiah, “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” The people of Judah had the temple worship service; they had pride as God’s chosen people. But they were so casual toward God; God told them that they were just trampling on the court of his temple, instead of really seeking or worshiping God. God told Isaiah not to follow any trend, not to believe what they said. God did not give them any credit whatsoever. At this, Isaiah got a message and shouted, “Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.” (Isa 8:12-16) His direction was clear – he would not share God’s revelation with those spectators, but with his disciples alone whose hearts and lives were dedicated to God and to him. Jesus says the same thing. One day, Jesus taught the crowd the parable of the sower; people heard his message, and they thought that Jesus was talking about farming. They left, saying that his message was too easy to understand. But the disciples sensed that he was talking about more than farming, but they couldn’t figure it out. So, after the meeting was over, they came to Jesus and asked him about the parable. At that time, Jesus said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that they may be ever seeing, but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” (Mk 4:10-12) We all need to be serious about God; we must come to Him with our heart’s determination that, from now on, we will love Him really by living for His purpose. We must be worthy of this great revelation today. Some students, when they are asked, they say, “I want to study Revelation.” Close up and seal the words of revelation. Only those whose hearts and lives are dedicated to God, only those who really want to live by God’s revelation – let them see and understand this revelation so that they can prepare themselves for their eternal future properlyand shine like the stars for ever and ever. So, close up and seal the words of revelation among the disciples who love Jesus and serve Him only.

 

Third, “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined” (5-13). Look at verses 5 through 7. One of the angels asked the holy one in Daniel’s vision, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and Daniel heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Here, “a time” refers to one year, “times” two years, and ‘half a time” half a year, total three and a half years. When the Antichrist starts his persecution on the Jews, all these things will be fulfilled. And his persecution will last for three and a half years. 

 

Daniel heard, but he did not understand. So he asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” Daniel wondered what would be the end result of all these trials, and persecutions. He could not understand why God, who was in complete control, allowed such a persecution on his people. Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together:

 

He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” 

 

Again, as in the case of the persecution from Antiochus, the reason why God will allow the Antichrist to persecute the Jews and Christians, or God’s purpose is so that his own people who love him, who dedicate themselves to His mission, may be purified, made spotless and refined. Life’s challenges or persecutions purify those who love God. And this is God’s burning desire for you and me who love God and serve Him. He wants to purify us and make us spotless and refined. That’s why, as we struggle to live before Him, He keeps challenging us to surrender our life to Him and love nothing but Him alone. That’s why even though Abraham was completely dedicated to Him and loved God so much, still God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom he loved, as a burnt offering to Him. Our God is love; our God is jealous for you and for me; He is completely dedicated to you and to me. 

 

The holy one says, “But the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” When such a harsh persecution comes, people’s real identity is revealed – some as wise people whose hearts and lives are fully dedicated to God, and others as wicked people. These wicked people have no heart’s real desire for God; they have no reason to suffer or even risk their life for the sake of God. So, when things do not go well, when they lose a lot for God’s sake, they complain, saying, “Why doesn’t God bless me?” They do not understand why such terrible things occur in their lives, so they blame God, and even become enemies. While those who are wise are being purified by standing firm on God’s side despite dangers and losses, these people turn out to be wicked people. The holy one says, “None of the wicked will understand.” Fear God, and you will understand many things. The last chapter in the Bible is Revelation 22. There, God talks about how things will go during the end time, saying, “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." (Rev 22:11) Let’s pray that we may all be found as wise people; let’s dedicate ourselves to the task of teaching the word of God completely.

 

Look at verses 11 and 12. Let’s read these verses together:

 

11“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

 

The period of the Antichrist’s persecution is counted as “three and a half years,” but now here God gives us the exact days - 1,290 days: exactly, three years and seven months, counting 360 days as one year. After that, all the Jews and Christians must endure patiently for about 45 more days, in total 1,335 days. Then, those who wait for and reach the end of 1,335 days will be blessed – meaning the end of the Antichrist, and the time of great blessing and victory for all those who have endured patiently and loved God – it will be the time of refreshment, victory and blessing for all of them. What will be there at the end of 1,335 days that it will be the blessed day for them? Most likely, it will be the day of Jesus’ second coming. At his coming, Jesus will destroy the Antichrist’s army and all those who will be with him; He will capture the Antichrist and throw him into the fiery lake of burning sulfur where he will be tormented forever. That day, all peoples on earth will see Jesusin glory; at that time, we will be changed with the brand new resurrection body, raptured and meet him in the sky – it will be the glorious day. In this hope of victory and glory, today we live as Christians, teaching others the word of God and leading them to righteousness.

 

Look at verse 13. Let’s read this verse together:

 

13“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

 

“As for you, go your way till the end.” Daniel loved and pursued God wholeheartedly. God recognized the way Daniel had lived his life. It was like God saying to him, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” And God encouraged him to continue on, just as he had lived thus far, loving God and serving Him wholeheartedly. Then, after finishing his mission on earth, he would rest, and on