Meredith Kline, Kingdom Prologue, Lecture 1.
© 2012 Dr. Meredith Kline and Ted Hildebrandt
The equivalent of this course is one that I teach all the time at the Seminary. When I teach in California we have 56 hours to cover the material that is on your syllabus outline. Here we have about half of those hours. When I have 56 hours my problem already is to squeeze it down to 56 hours. So to work it into 25 odd hours is going to be quite something. As we move along I’m just going to have to make adjustments in that syllabus outline that you see so before you. I may be chopping out an item or rearranging things as we see how the time is working out. But we’ll do the best we can.
Structure of the book of Genesis
Now tonight we’re going to be starting with: The structure of the book of Genesis. For that purpose, here are some outlines of the book of Genesis. What we’ll do is just try to work through the outline and then, in the process of doing that, try to achieve an overview of the whole message of the book. In fact, this first week or two we will be involved in overviews rather than the main purposes what we’re trying to do in biblical theology. This is just to provide people with that big overview--to see the forest and woods and not just the individual trees. So tonight in the process of going through the structure of the book of Genesis we will be doing an overview of a great deal of material and then going into more detail as we work through the rest of the course. I don’t think we’ll get to it tonight, but the next thing in your outline that is probably listed for the second week there is on the subject of the covenants. There my policy is to start again with a big overview of the whole subject and then to back up and work with the details.
Now in reference to the structure of the book of Genesis then, as I say, what we have in mind is to get the large view of the whole development of God’s covenantally administered kingdom throughout this whole period recorded in the book of Genesis which I call “The Kingdom Prologue.” The significance of that time will emerge by the time we’re done.
One other thing I’m trying to achieve as we work through this structural outline of the book of Genesis is to get a feeling of the way in which Moses, I believe in the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and the book of Genesis, organizes his narrative. In studying the Bible there are literary features of it that are important. In order to appreciate not just the theology but the literary aspect and also because the meaning of the text, the exegesis, the solving various problems is going to depend on having some understanding of the literary techniques of the author.
straight forward chronological movement
For example, as we work through this outline I’ll be trying to make the point that as Moses describes this whole history of the creation right up through the patriarchal age, he does not just move along in a straight forward chronological line all the way. On the contrary, he develops a story in terms of various themes. He’ll treat one theme up to a certain point. Then he backtracks to the beginning and goes through that same chronological period again but from a point of view of another theme. So that’s one thing I want you to be developing a feeling for the way the biblical authors organize their material.
Another thing that emerges here in the structure in the book of Genesis is how you have certain numerical patterns. I don’t want to go overboard with all kinds of numerical symbolism. But you can observe, as you go through the structure in a moment, that the book is organized not just in a long string of subjects without any other patterns to them but after the prologue, we’ll see that there are ten sections to the book and these ten sections are arranged in sets of three. The first triad: 1 through 3, the next triad: 4 through 6, and then into a couple of pairs at the end. So, there are literary interests that Moses has in his mind as he works through. So we’ll see how that works out then.
The Prologue (Gen. 1:1-2:3)
book begins with what we can call: “a prologue.” It’s the creation prologue, Genesis
1:1 through 2:3. And we’ll be going back and spending more time, of course,
looking at that prologue because it’s so rich and such large questions emerge there.
That’s the opening of the book.
Ten toledoth structure of Genesis [“these are the generations of”]
following that, the rest of the book is outlined for us by the author by the
use of a certain heading. In Hebrew the heading is eleh toledoth, which
is variously translated in the King James Version, “these are the generations
of.” So that familiar heading, these are the generations of Isaac, Jacob, or whatever.
Sometimes it might be translated: “this is the story of,” or “this is the
So, here is this heading and it’s used ten times. Actually, there is an 11th, as one of the sections is subdivided. As I recall, the one on Esau is subdivided at certain point in Esau’s development. But really there are ten sections. Now in your Kingdom Prologue text if you have that handy, what we are doing right at this point in discussing this heading is to treat it right up near the front on page 6, okay? So what I’m going to be covering now is I’m going too fast forward or whatever so you can then have a chance on your own when you reading through Kingdom Prologue to more leisurely catch up on this. By the way, this will be true with a lot of what we’re doing. I’ll be covering rapidly things that are covered more fully in Kingdom Prologue. So I will be depending on you to keep up with the reading in Kingdom Prologue. In the syllabus we’ve actually given you the pages in Kingdom Prologue which correspond to a subject along the line. So, you will have a chance, at home, at your leisure, to be reading more fully about this and I think that will help your understanding process. So what I’ll be doing in class is sort of underscoring high points and maybe giving some occasion for discussion. But don’t despair if it’s going to fast because you can catch up on it in the text itself.
So on page 6 now, I won’t say everything that I have on pages 6 and 7 about this subject but here is this formula “these are the generations.” As I just said, I regard it as a heading for the material that follows. The first one appears on chapter 2 verse 4, the next 5:1, the next in 6:9 and so on, ten of them throughout the book. I’m regarding these as a superscription, a heading, that describes the material that follows it.
Superscription [heading] rather than sub-scription [closing]
Now in Kingdom Prologue, on those pages, I do bring to your attention that there has been another view of this heading which regards it not as a heading of what follows but as a subscription referring to what goes before. I think that, that view simply is not valid for the reasons that I sketch for you on those pages. One of the common introductions that we’ve often used is by R. K. Harrison. R. K. Harrison and his Old Testament Introduction assume that these things I’m calling a heading are actually subscriptions for what precedes. The thought is that when Moses was writing the book of Genesis he had various sources available to him. And now this is not the same as the higher critical view that the Pentateuch consists of various sources, all of which are after Moses so that’s not that higher critical view. But it is thought that there were various sources available to Moses for the history. He was recording from the ancient documents and they would end up with what is called, “a colophon.” A colophon is a subscription at the end which might tell you something about the document who its author was or what the subject was and so on. So that is the assumption that some of these scholars are working with. So we can see here by means of these headings the seams in the several documents that Moses used and was weaving together. So that’s what lies behind it.
Now there are various major problems that indicate that that’s really not a viable position at all, because you can’t take these headings in any consistent ways. Someone is named in each of the headings. On this other view that it is a subscript. There’s no consistent way of understanding why this particular person is named. Sometimes he supposed to be the hero of the preceding narrative, sometimes he’s supposed to be the author of the preceding narrative, or the one in whose library this particular document or supposed document, was found. Then there are other cases where none of these suggestions work.
For example, take the history of, let’s say, Esau. Let’s take whichever one that is down there toward the end. It’s the history of Esau that would end up with a heading in which the name of Jacob is found. On the view that we’re trying to refute, that would mean that Jacob was the hero of this preceding history which is a matter a fact the genealogy of Esau. This doesn’t make any sense. It’s also a fact that this particular heading which appears ten times in Genesis also appears elsewhere in the Bible in the book of Ruth. Very importantly, it appears in Matthew in the New Testament that opens with this heading. We’re talking about “this is the book of the generations of Jesus Christ.” That’s the formula we’re talking about that appears ten times in Genesis. That particular heading obviously in Matthew 1:1 is not a colophon, a subscription for what’s gone before, because nothing has gone before it’s a heading for Matthew. So there’s a whole lot of considerations of that sort that rule out this alternative view. So the ten sections have this heading.
So, ten sections now, tens sections after the prologue each with this particular heading, except for the first one which is: “generations of the heavens and the earth.” All the others have the names of some individuals associated with them.
The first section: The entrance and Escalation of sin (Gen. 2:4ff)
The first one then in chapter 2 verse 4 you can see on your outline if I forget the particular verses you could check on your outline and see which are the proper verses. “This is the book of the generations of the heavens and the earth in the day that the Lord God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s section one.
Now what we’re going to be proposing is that of the 10 sections they divide into 1, 2, 3; as one triad, then 4, 5, 6; another triad, alright? So here is the first block of material. Now we want to see what the subject matter on each of these three is and what we are going to find now is, and you can look at your outline, the subject matter in the first one is I think I call it, “The Entrance and the Escalation of Sin.” It’s in chapter 2 and ends in chapter 4. Now just think about that material in your Bible. What do you find there? Well, of course, this is very ritual and it begins with the whole scene in the garden of Eden and God’s covenantal dealings with them there. But that story quickly then comes to a crisis in the fall of man--so the entrance of sin.
Chapter 4: overview focusing on the line of Cain
Then as you move on to chapter 3 into chapter 4, what is the theme there? Remember, chapter 4 a very interesting story of how things developed among the descendants of Adam not all of them but in one particular line, the line of Cain. So in the line of Cain, we find that sin which has entered the world in Adam is escalating now in the line of Cain. What’s happening in the line of Cain as you read through chapter 4. It has God’s gift of common grace. He is enabling even this rejected line, and of course, Cain is the rejected line. He started with a covenantal situation and now out of the covenant family there are those who are disowned and are rejected and going their own way. We find that development takes place there in the line of Cain. What happens is that as they develop, as they exercise their various cultural talents, it describes their achievements in technology in the arts and the crafts and so on. Along with that there’s the actual introduction of the political institution of the state. I will be talking a lot more about the various institutions like the state and the church and so on as we go along.
Institution of the state/the city in Gen. 4 [Cain]
When we come to talk about the state we’ll be making the point that it is incorrect, as is usually assumed, that the institution, the state, was first established after the flood. In Genesis 9 after the flood we do have that common grace covenant which does speak about how God did institute the state with the right of capital punishment-- “whoever sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed”--and that is usually thought of as being the beginning of the state. Some years ago wrote an article on Genesis 4:15 trying to demonstrate that in the history before the flood, in response to the complaint of Cain early on in the story, God comes to him and gives him what I call, “the charter of the city.” Cain is afraid that all hell is going to break out and everything is going to be anarchy everyone that comes down the turnpike is going to kill me because I killed my brother. God assures him no that things aren’t going to be complete anarchy. There will be an order of justice and there will be a deterrence, then for killing and murder. In effect then what God does is to provide for the institution of the state which we may call “the city”—“the city of man.” The emergence in this fallen world, of this organized expression of human life in the city is the city of man. We’ll be studying that and we’ll be seeing that it in itself. It’s a perfectly good thing. It’s a legitimate thing. It’s a good gift of God’s common grace. The unhappy thing is that man perverts these good things of God and the political institution of the state or “city of man” soon is terribly perverted. That’s what we find then as we go on in chapter 4. There’s a list of names. It says in chapter 4 verse 17 that after God comes to him and provides the authority to establish this city. Two verses later it tells us that Cain built the city. He named it after his son. Now you are getting a feeling for what this escalation of sin is all about. The theme is developing a theme. It’s all interested in its own name and instead of being interested in the name of God. So here is the founder of the first city, the beginning of the state. He names it virtually after himself and his own future which he sees in the form of this son of his after whom he names the city. Then within this city here are the different rulers. I take it that the list of names is virtually the dynasty of Cain as he ruled in the city of man.
From Cain to Lamech (Gen. 4)
The story hastens to a climax in this figure of Lamech in chapter 4. Lamech is guilty of sins on three fronts. He is despising the marriage institution that God has set up because he is practicing bigamy. He sings this song to his two wives we see. So, he is despising all the good ordinances of God, first of all the family. Then, of course, he’s also despising and trampling upon the institution of the state itself. The state is set up as an institution of law and order, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” that’s justice. But Lamech is boasting not “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life,” but if someone bruises me, I will kill him. So here he is the king and in his arrogance he is boasting of his practice of justice is that if anyone offends him in some slight way he puts them to death. So, in other words, Lamech is abusing the institution of the family. He’s also abusing the institution of the state.
This is not the height of his crime. The escalation of sin finds its worse expression in his blasphemy against God. He adopts a certain ideology which we find in the Near East and elsewhere, the ideology of the divine kingship, where the human kings began to conceive of themselves and to proclaim themselves to be divine figures. So how does Lamech do it? Well, he does it by claiming to be super-god. Now God had promised to Cain when God was founding the city back there that if anyone would kill Cain there would be the divine administration of justice. There would be seven-fold vengeance that would be executed. It wouldn’t be complete anarchy. There would be a divine imperium. There would be an administration of divine justice, seven-fold vengeance. Lamech says, “Ha! If the suppose creator was able to avenge Cain seven-fold. What is that? I can avenge myself 70 and 7 fold. I am super-god!” We have here what I think we can call: “the anti-Christ syndrome.” This is what anti-Christ is. He is the one that exalts himself above God. In the escalation of sin here in the early city of man before the flood this is how terrible things had been going. That brings you up then to the climax of this development of evil in this early age.
Pattern of eschatology: Days of Noah and Son of Man
Why don’t we just back off for a moment and say this, that as we work through this first triad and we have now traced the story of the city of man. We’re going to find next that we’re going to be tracing the city of God in the second section. Then having traced both of those from Adam up to the Flood, because that’s where we have actually come, then in the third section we have the Lord of heaven takes account on what’s been going on in the earth. He brings judgment upon the world in the days of Noah. In the days of Noah judgment comes on this whole development. “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” I’m just trying to give you a feel for something of the significance for understanding this particular period in history in light what Jesus said. Jesus says that we can look at this period in history that we are studying right here and we can see the pattern of eschatology in development of redemptive history, the eschatological development up to the final judgment. What’s the shape of it? What is the basic pattern of it when the Son of Man will come in glory? What will be the development that leads up to that and precipitates that coming of the day of the Son of Man? “As it was on the days of Noah,” Jesus says, “so it will be in the days of Son of Man.”
What was it like in the days of Noah? In the days of Noah, things developed to a crisis. Evil was developing in the world and as we’ll see that evil involved the persecution of the saints as well. Blasphemy against God and development of divine kingship ideology, but also the persecution of the saints. Now this was the line of Cain.
The Covenant Line of Seth and flood (Gen. 5)
Then you come to chapter 5 verse 1 and following. Now you get the covenant line --the line of Seth. Now you see that the covenant line is one that is diminishing so that by the time you come to the third section, the story of the flood and the judgment how many are left in the line of Shem? Seven or eight souls left. What’s been happening to them. I suspect the line of Cain, the tyrants; the anti-christs that were developing the city of man had been busy persecuting the saints out of existence and that’s why God must come quickly at that time and deliver his people. But that’s the pattern of things. The pattern of eschatology “as it was in the days of Noah” is one then where evil develops in the world to a crisis stage, to an anti-Christ stage. Then comes the Day of the Lord which is, of course, what the flood is.
Meanwhile, now we back up. So the story starting at 2:4 under this first heading, “the generation of the earth.” It takes us from creation right up to the verge of the flood. You’re on the brink of the deluge when you come to the end of this first section with this figure of Lamech and so on.
End of the first section (Gen. 4:25-26)--transition
Now just before the end of that first section in the closing two verses in chapter 4:25 & 26 I believe, we get another literary feature--the transition. So, the first scene is the city of man the escalation of evil up to this anti-Christ stage. Now a little transition that moves you on to the next section. So while evil men are developing this great blasphemous name for ourselves that we are super-gods, we are gods ourselves. While they are concerned for their own name, there is still on earth this community of faith.
Now this is what the message of Genesis is all about. In spite of the fall, in spite of the escalation of sin, in spite of the apparent triumph of Satan, in spite of his bringing even an anti-Christ into existence in world, God’s covenant purposes have not failed. God from the beginning has ordained that there should be a people for his name who should be his dwelling place who at last he would glorify and make into his eternal temple joy and glory. In spite of all that happening there, God is at work. There is a remnant in the earth. There is a true seed of promise in the earth in the line of Seth.
Their story’s told rather in brief genealogical form in Genesis 5 following, but just before you come to that, those two little transitional verses giving you an insight into their character. It says that concerning them, does someone have that verse? Maybe they could just read that for us, Genesis 4. I think its 24 to 26. “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, ‘God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.’ Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” They weren’t exalting their own name but they were making confession of God’s name. That expression, “to call on the name of the Lord,” that’s covenantal terminology. That’s the language that makes acknowledgment that there is a covenant relationship between God and his people whereby he is their Father and they are his children. Children bear the name, they are surnamed after their father. That is sometimes the force of what “calling on the name of the Lord” means--“to call yourself by the name of the Lord.” When we call ourselves Christians we call ourselves by the name of Christ we are calling on the name of Christ. When we are naming ourselves after Him. So in this particular case, this is an acknowledgement that we are God’s kids and we are calling on His name. Then, of course, if we recognize someone as our father then calling on his name is asking him for help too. So here’s a community that is confessing God and is trusting in Him and confessing His name in the midst of all that is going on in the earth.
Genesis 5:1 and following: the line of Seth
Who are they? They’re in this line of Seth and so we come now to the second of the tenth triad, the ten sections. Now you get the history of Seth. So you can see we’ve gone right down to virtually to the story of the flood, however long that was, and that’s another subject. But now you come to Gen. 5:1 and you see chronologically this is what happens. You come up to a certain point but just don’t continue with that, but you back up to the beginning again. We read now about how God created Adam in his own image and we continue from there. So you get the point now from a literary point of view Moses develops this story according to themes. The theme of the city of man and the line of Cain.
Now another theme and you go back to the beginning in order to follow it: the theme of the saints who were in the earth. Then you go on to what you may call the City of God or the covenant community. Their story is told primarily in the form of a list of names giving you here the community of faith in the earth. Once again then, we move from Adam up to the time of the flood, in my judgment, covering thousands of years. So you cover thousands of years from there to there. Now you’ve covered thousands of years, again, from Adam up to the end of this line, which is bringing you down to the days of Noah.
The third section: God’s judgment (flood) and covenant;
claims of the two lines (Cainites and Sethites)
Here, once again, transition, just before you moved from the story of the line of the saints to the story which I found in the third section, which begins, I think it is in Gen. 6:9, is that correct?--chapter 6:9, from the third section. This is the story of God’s judgment coming up to the great judgment and the great covenant episode. Here’s where the word “covenant” actually appears for the first time in the Bible. The covenant has been there all along, but the word “covenant” appears for the first time here in this connection.
Now, just before, you come to a story of God’s intervention. What’s been happening here for thousands of years? There have been two communities of the earth – the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The hostility, we look at the world in terms of God’s common grace and so on. The unbelievers don’t look all that bad. We may maybe tend to develop a superficial view of the tensions and so on that are going in the world.
But we shouldn’t be naďve, we should be alert to the fact that there was a terrible war that was going on. There’s a difference between the forces of Satan and forces of God that are at work here. These tensions are the dynamic of history. To whom does this world belong? The Cainanites are saying, “it belongs to us, we are gods”. The other line of the Sethites are saying, “oh no, the world belongs to our heavenly father and we are his kids, and we are the heirs of our heavenly father, therefore the world belongs to us.” To whom does the world belong? And, of course, the city of man doesn’t want to tolerate the counterclaims of the saints that this ultimately is their father’s world and therefore theirs. It doesn’t want to hear that, and so it oppresses the saints. Now that’s what going on, but who’s right? To whom does the world belong? The human witnesses disagree.
End of second section: transition 6:1ff (cf. 4:25-26)
God renders the verdict. He decides whose claim to the world is right, and he does that by unfolding the story in Genesis 6:9. But just before you get there, there is another transition. So just as back in chapter 4 verses 25 and 26 at the end of the first section, there was a transition to the line of the saints. So just where you come to the end of this second section, it began at 5:1 and it continues up though 6:8, but just before you get to the end of it, once again you have a transition. The transition begins in chapter 6, with those opening verses. It is very interesting and very much highly debated. There are difficult verses there. My contention is that what they are actually doing is taking us right back to where we were in the story of the city of man when we came to Lamech, the anti-Christ type of guy. Now the story picks up the story again at that point, it is an introduction now to the judgment. We come to anti-Christ again because in the day of the son of man, that’s the way it works.
What’s in the day of Noah, that’s what it’s going to be like in the day of the Son of Man what’s it like when Jesus comes back? What’s it like when Jesus comes back at his second coming at his parousia? It is in response to a crisis, which has been brought upon the world and then represented by the figure of the anti-Christ, the man of lawlessness and so on. Well, that’s what happened in this Day of the Lord, the flood episode. The crisis was this anti-Christ crisis, and so understandably, this second section doesn’t end until it returns and sets the scene again the same way it had back in the first section.
Sons of God in Genesis 6 compared with Lamech’s offenses
Now it tops, and we’ll just quickly mention this because we have a long of section later on. In Kingdom Prologue, this another one of those places where you may not catch what I’m saying tonight, especially when I cover everything fast here. This particular subject is developed over several pages later on. Here is the story. It’s about in those days, there were these people called the bene ha’elohim, “the sons of the gods,” or “the sons of god.” Mankind was multiplying and spread on all over the earth, and the daughters are born onto them and so on. So there is a population explosion going on in the world by this time. What happens is that certain figures who are described by that term “sons of god” or “sons of the gods” are described as taking to themselves wives of the daughters of men of all that they chose. The picture actually is that what they are doing is taking multiple wives.
What we have is point-per-point the three offenses of Lamech being repeated here in what is said about “the sons of the gods” in chapter 6 verses 1 and following. The first thing Lamech had practiced was bigamy. He despised the marriage institution. “The sons of the gods are described taking for themselves wives as many as they please,”--that’s the way it should be translated. They were taking for themselves wives as they please-- multiple marriages. More specifically, because these figures are royal figures, the ones we’re talking about there was the line of Cain, the dynasty of Cain. Lamech was a royal figure. He was a king. Well, that’s what’s being described in Genesis 6:1-4. These are kings. Of course, it was very familiar that the ancient kings has as one of their great offences was multiplying wives. They had great harems. The royal harem, that’s what’s being described here. That’s one of their offences.
Nephalim and/or Giborim
And, of course, he goes on to say that when they were involved with these marriages, they had children. The children are called by a various terms, the Nephalim and the Giborim in Hebrew. What it adds up to is that these terms described, perhaps, physical gigantic stature or certain outstanding physical prowess and so on, but also political power, military power and tyranny.
For example, in chapter 10, we read about one such person. One of these, the Hebrew was plural, the children of the sons of the gods were called giborim. Well, Nimrod is called the Gibor. He is one. Who is Nimrod? He was, of course, a great king and so on. So what we are told then is that the royal courts where these harems were developing, were producing these young crown princes and so on, who were notable in history for their military, their political power, tyranny and oppression. So when God looked on the world everything was being oppressed. Secondly, then that is what is described here. The royal harems, the abuse of the power of the state through these physical military outstanding princes of the court.
But once again, the third feature that’s involved in the case of Lamech was the blasphemy of taking God’s name upon himself. That is precisely what we have here. These characters call themselves: “we are the sons of God.” So out of their own mouths, Moses is taking their own self-designation and we see he describes them by their own self-designation. These are characters who claim to be “the sons of God.” So as I said, we’ll come back and give more an exegetical defense of that because there is a lot that can be said.
that’s what you have then in chapter 6, verses 1 through 4: the story of how
the development of evil did, once again, come to this stage of political
tyranny, abuse and oppression, and especially with the claim of deity on the
part of the human kings. God doesn’t let it go beyond that point. When it
comes to the anti-Christ stage, that is enough. God is very patient and
tolerant thought history and he allows history to go on in spite of all manner
of evil. But then it reaches this point of no return, no remedy, and when
anti-christ comes, it’s time for Christ to come. When this kind of thing,
described in Genesis 6:1-4, comes to pass, it’s time for God to come, and
that’s what the next one is.
So in chapter 6:9 and following, God comes. He deals with this development and he destroys anti-christ and all of the other hopes that are associated with him--all in whose nostrils who is the breath of life. He destroys them all. But of course, in the process, he saves his own people. So here, it’s a great Old Testament typological representation of the redemption of God’s people delivered from the final anti-christ and the return of our blessed Lord.
This whole arrangement is cast in the form of a covenant. God’s kingdom, on-going, is all articulated and organized in a form of a succession of covenants. So, God organizes this particular event by making a covenant with his servant Noah. It’s a covenant of salvation. It’s the covenant that centers in the ark, the instrument of salvation. When we come to study this a little more fully, we’ll be trying to develop how rich this whole episode is in terms of a prototype of the final judgment and the final consummation of the kingdom. All of these things, we’ll be trying to observe all these. The ark is not just an instrument of salvation, but it’s actually a symbolic replica of the whole cosmos. The whole cosmos is conceived of as a great house of God, the great temple of God, as the Kingdom of God. So all this symbolism that’s going on, and the whole thing develops then in terms of God’s covenant promise and his fulfillment of that promise. As I say, we will want to analyze all of that more fully. But there’s a whole world history.
Peter’s whole history of the world (2 Pet. 3)
Peter in 2 Peter divides the whole history of the world right there. He says we live in two worlds. There is the world that’s been. It was created out of the water and then finally destroyed in the water. Then Peter says beyond that point is the world of that now is, the present. If you’re thinking of writing a major history of the world, where would you put the major breaks during the old covenant and the new covenant? Very major one, various places that you might think of, but Peter saw this as such a major break in the whole development that he describes the whole history of the world in terms of actually being the world that then was and the world that now is. The present heaven and earth he describes there in 2 Peter 3. He makes about the same point that Jesus made. Jesus says, “as it was in the days Noah, so what’s going to be in the days of Son of Man.” That’s what now what Peter is saying. So there’s that story and the world of then was destroyed in fire. We are now in the world that now is. This one will be destroyed by water, and now, the world of now is this one will be destroyed by fire, but Peter saw the same pattern.
So just within the short compass of those of first 8 chapters of the book of Genesis, you have a whole world history. A history with this development of evil, the increasing tempo of hostility between the people of Satan and the people of God until you come to a crisis point of an anti-Christ. Then there is the intervention of God in redemptive judgment which condemns the world and then simultaneously saves his own people. That’s the shape of history. You want to know the shape of things to come? You have to look at the shape of the things gone by. There is the shape of the future, written right clearly before your eyes in the story of the first three sections here of the book of Genesis and the days of Noah.
Now that was a big prototype of the end of the world, but it wasn’t the end of the world, of course. Beyond the deluge, history moved on. The story of Genesis tells us that, in the next three sections 4, 5 and 6. History repeats itself and the repeating of history is a reflected in the repeating of the literary story here.
So chapter 10 is going to develop the city of man again just as the chapter 4 but the fourth division of the 10 divisions, is going to develop the story of the city of man just as the first division did. That one begins in chapter 10 verse 1. Now, by the way, there was an awful lot more contained in that third section there that I’ve jumped over. I’ll just mention one very important thing that was there. After the flood, after this salvation covenant that God made with Noah and his family to save them in the ark, after the flood, God makes another covenant that is recorded toward the end of chapter 8 and on to chapter 9. It is the covenant of common grace, which I’ve refer to a little earlier.
For me, this is one of the important concepts that needs to get straightened out because everyone is confusing them. I was just looking at a little book before we started, by Palmer Robinson back there, and the thing called “The covenants.” He is one of those who completely confuses these two things. There is the covenant of salvation, which we’ve just been talking about, which is mainly about Noah and his family which gives a certain holy people …
Transcribed by Kemberlyne I. Cordero
Rough edited by Dr. Ted Hildebrandt