Introduction to the Book of Genesis

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1 1 Introduction to the Book of Genesis

2 2 Introduction to the Book of Genesis Commentary by Leon Matheny OUTLINE OF GENESIS I. Primeval History: A. Account of creation 1:1-2:25 1. Universe 1:1-2:3 2. Man and the Garden of Eden 2:4-25 B. Fall of man and it s consequences, 3: Man s sin that resulted in him being put out of the Garden 3:1-24.

3 Cain and Abel 4: Descendants of Adam 4:25-6:10. C. Flood as a judgment on sinful man 6:11-8: Preparation before the Flood 6:11-8: The Flood 7:1-8:19. D. Life after the flood 8:20-11: Covenant with Noah 8:20-9: Noah and his sons 9:20-10: Tower of Babel 11: Shem and his descendants 11: II. Patriarchal History: A. Abraham 12:1-25: Call of Abram 12: Abram in Egypt 12: Abram and Lot 13: Land promised 13:14-18.

4 Rescue of Lot 14: Abram blessed by Melchizedek 14: God s covenant with Abram Hagar and Ishmael Covenant of Circumcision and name changed to Abraham Abraham intercedes for Sodom Lot rescued when Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed Abraham and Abimelech Isaac born Hagar and Ishmael sent away Abraham told to sacrifice Isaac Death of Sarah 23. B. Isaac and Rebekah 24:1 26: Abraham finds a wife for Isaac Death of Abraham 23: Ishmael s sons 25:12-18.

5 Jacob and Esau in conflict Isaac and Abimelech 26. C. Jacob 27:1 36: Jacob receives Isaac s blessing 27: Jacob flees of Laban 27:41-29: Jacob married Leah and Rachel 29:15-30: Jacob becomes wealthy and leaves Laban 30:25-31: Jacob and Esau meet 32 and Dinah and Shechemites Jacob returns to Bethel 35; Death of Rachel and Isaac 35: Esau s descendants and rules of Edom 36:1-43. D. Joseph 37:1 50: Joseph s dreams 37: Joseph sold by his brothers 37: Judah and Tamar 38.

6 Joseph in Potiphar s house 39: Joseph in prison 39:20-40: Pharah s dream 41: Joseph in charge of Egypt Jacob s sons go to Egypt to buy grain Second trip to Egypt with Benjamin 43:1-44: Joseph reveals himself to his brothers Jacob and family go to Egypt 46:1-47: Joseph and the famine 47: Manasseh and Ephraim blessed by Jacob Jacob blesses his sons 49: Death of Jacob 49:25-50: Death of Joseph 50:22-26.

7 7 INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF GENESIS I. Genesis means origin, source or generations. A. It is the record of the beginning of everything but God. 1. The first verse in Genesis assumes the existence of God and then goes on to tell how he created the world. B. Eight important beginnings are addressed: 1. The world - Chapter The human race - Chapters 1 and Sin - Chapter Promise of redemption for mankind - Chapter Family life and civilization - Chapter Nations of the world - Chapters 10 and 11.

8 Different languages Chapter Hebrew race, the family through which the Messiah would come Chapters II. It is estimated that Genesis 1-12 covers about 2000 years and the rest of the book another 200 years. A. Therefore Genesis covers the first 2200 years of human history and gives us a spiritual interpretation of that history. III. The love of God is revealed in this early story of man s sin, for just as soon as man sinned, God began to tell the story of how man would be redeemed. IV. The story of the four patriarchal fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) form the foundation for all Bible history. A. Acts 7:32, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. (KJV) B. This reference to the patriarchal fathers is only one of many such references in the New Testament. V. Jesus testifies to the truthfulness of the Genesis record. A. John 5:46, If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. B. Luke 24:23, but didn t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.

9 9 C. To doubt the Genesis record is to reject Jesus Christ. VI. God s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26;1-5) and then Jacob. A. Genesis 12:1-3, The LORD had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (KJV) B. Genesis 26:1-5, Now there was a famine in the land besides the earlier famine of Abraham s time and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws. (KJV) C. Genesis 28:13-15, There above it stood the LORD, and he said: I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east,

10 10 to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. (KJV) D. This promise became the basis of God s covenant with all mankind. 1. God promised Abraham: I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:2, 3. (KJV) E. In Genesis we see the beginning of the fulfillment of the first five blessings and then we must go to the New Testament to see the fulfillment of the last blessing in the coming of Jesus the Christ; then the blessing was extended to all people of the earth. VII. Genesis is the foundation of all revelation. A. Referring to the Old Testament, Paul said, These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 1 Corinthians 10:11. (KJV) VIII. Genesis answers life s great questions. A. What is the nature of God? Genesis 1:1. B. Where did man come from? Chapter 1 and 2.

11 11 C. Where did sin come from? Chapter 3. D. Is the devil real? Chapter 3. E. How can sinful man get back to God? Chapter 22. F. How can man please God? Abraham was an example of faith. Romans 4: Romans 4:1-3, What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (KJV) IX. Almost one third of the story of the patriarchs in Genesis is devoted to the story of Joseph and reveals how this Hebrew family grew into a great nation of three million. X. Genesis contains many hints of the coming Messiah. A. The seed of the woman is a reference to the Messiah who would come to redeem man and defeat Satan. 1. Genesis 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. (KJV) B. The ark is a symbol of man s redemption.

12 Peter 3:20-22, who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (KJV) C. The offering of Isaac was symbolic of the sacrifice of Christ. 1. Genesis 22:1-24, Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham! Here I am, he replied. Then God said, Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, Father? Yes, my son? Abraham replied. The fire and wood are here, Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered, God himself will provide

13 13 the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham! Here I am, he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided. The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba. Nahor s Sons Some time later Abraham was told, Milcah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor: Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and

14 14 Bethuel. Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah bore these eight sons to Abraham s brother Nahor. His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah. (KJV) 2. Hebrews 11:17-19, By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (KJV) XI. Moses is the author of Genesis. A. How did Moses get all his information regarding creation and other historic facts about which he wrote? Moses was born some four hundred (400) years after the last event recorded in Genesis. 1. Moses could have received direct revelation from God. 2. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. a. Acts 7:22, Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. (KJV) 3. There may have been historic writings about the information in Genesis. We know that Moses did make use of writing.

15 15 a. Exodus 34:27, Then the LORD said to Moses, Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. (KJV) b. Numbers 17:2, Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. (KJV) c. Deuteronomy 6:4, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (KJV) d. Deuteronomy 24:13, Return his cloak to him by sunset so that he may sleep in it. Then he will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the LORD your God. (KJV) e. Joshua 8:32, There in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written. (KJV) 4. Abraham no doubt received traditions or records from Seth, Shem and Methuselah, about the creation and early mankind. a. Moses lived in a cultural society of books and libraries.

16 16 QUESTIONS Introduction to the Book of Genesis 1. What does the word Genesis mean? 2. What are the beginnings described in Genesis? 3. How many years does Genesis cover? 4. Who are the four patriarchal fathers in Genesis?

17 Does Genesis speak of Jesus? If so, where? 6. What are the promises God made to Abraham? 7. According to the New Testament, what is the value of the Old testament? 8. What does Genesis say about the origin of mankind? 9. According to Romans 4, how was Abraham justified?

18 List two references to Jesus Christ in Genesis. 11. Was writing in use during the life times of Moses? 12. When did different languages start? 13. What were the major biblical events of Primeval history?

19 Who was Abraham s first wife? 15. Whose death ends the book of Genesis?

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