Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 11

Noah, Abraham and Abraham’s descendants

Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 11
Watching Now
Noah, Abraham and Abraham’s descendants

I. Lamech’s prophecy

A. Prophetic covenant mediator

B. Sons of God and daughters of man

II. Noah and the Flood

A. The flood

B. Redemptive covenant with Noah

C. Common grace

III. Table of Nations and Tower of Babel

IV. Abraham

A. The Promise

B. The covenant:

C. The sign

D. The cost

V. History of the patriarchs

VI. Joseph narrative

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament


Noah, Abraham and Abraham’s Descendants

I. Lamech’s Prophecy (00:13):

The next big event we come to in the covenantal administration of Genesis is the account of Noah in Genesis chapter six through nine. The account actually is introduced in chapter five when it says in verse 28, "When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and he called his name Noah, saying 'Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.'" So you see all that language back from Genesis chapter three. So out of the ground, the Lord has cursed, Genesis three. "This one shall bring us relief." The word there is the word for Noah is Noach. The word for relief is Nukhu. They share, it's a word play there. So Noach is going to bring us Nukhu. Then Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years.

So interestingly, Lamech is a prophet expressing his faith in God that Noah may be the one to bring us relief. He's looking for the seed. So we've talked about this a little bit in our introduction to the kingdom of God, but we want to point out here, just again in these programmatic chapters, that Noah serves as a picture for a couple of things for us that is important to remember.

A. Noah is a Prophetic Covenant Mediator (01:38):

Number one, Noah is a prophetic covenant mediator. He is going to be a second Adam and a type of Christ. He's going to receive the same cultural mandate to fill, subdue. He's going to be the new humanity after they get out of the arc. He is also the one who's going to preserve his family through the flood. The corruption of the world is typified by the sons of God taking in marriage to the daughters of man and having this corrupt offspring that promotes violence.

B. Sons of God and Daughters of Man (02:11):

There's tremendous amount of debate about this particular verse, “Who are the sons of God and who are the daughters of man?” There are three basic views. I'll give you the views so you're aware of them, and then we'll just move on so you can know. I'll tell you where you can get some more help from that.

The three views are this. The first view, the sons of God are the godly line of Seth, and the daughters of man are the corrupt line of Cain. They're intermarrying, and therefore having unequally yoked marriages and becoming corrupt. That's view one.

View number two is that the sons of God are tyrant kings and the daughters of man are just the rest of humanity. They're taking harems, waging war, being corrupt, and just promoting all kinds of terrible things when human kingship corrupts everything.

The third view is that the sons of God are heavenly beings and the daughters of man are human beings, and the angels have left their position in heaven and are now corrupting the line of the seed of the woman, right? They're actively trying to destroy that Genesis 3:15 promise by corrupting the flesh from those giants. And we've seen the giants, Goliath, the Nephilim, the Rephaim, right? The Greek word that they translate, Nephilim, is gigantis here. So you know what that means. Giant, right?

So those are the three views. I've held all three of them. They've all been held by different reformed folks. If you want help in this particular issue, I'll give you two spots. Number one, Peter Gentry and Steve Wellum have written a book called Kingdom Through Covenant. Gentry has a fairly good discussion of the interpretation of that particular text you can look at. Also Michael Heiser. He's written a book called The Unseen Realm and he deals in detail with that. There's also people like three well respected reformed scholars that I love and admire would be John Curd, Wilham Van Gameron, and Meredith Klein. Each of them held a different one of those views. So you're not going to be kicked out of Sunday school for either one of those views.

II. Noah and the Flood (04:15):

A. The flood

It's the corruption of the marriage covenant that precipitates the rise of wickedness and violence that precipitates the flood judgment ordeal. What's going to happen is God is so fed up with the humanity, He's going to show us what the eschaton looks like by suspending common grace, destroying the world, preserving a remnant, which will be the church, right, and rebuilding that world for the remnant. It's a picture of the end.

B. Redemptive covenant with Noah (04:50)

There's the redemptive covenant that we talked about with Noah in Genesis 6:18 where God is not going to wipe out the whole world, but He's going to preserve a seed so that Noah can be the seed of Abraham, who can be the seed of Judah, who can be the seed of David, who can be Jesus. That's the trajectory.

C. Common Grace (05:03):

You can see here, the reinstitution after the flood of common grace, so that seeds line can continue. Where it says here, "And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps from the ground and all the fish of the sea,”.

He gives them both plants to eat, and He is going to give them food to eat. "But you shall not eat flesh with its life", He says. That is its blood. "And for your life blood, I'll require a reckoning from every beast. I will require it from man. From his fellow man, I'll require a reckoning for the life of a man. Whoever sheds the blood of a man by a man, shall his blood be shed, for God made him in His own image." So it's the assault on the image of God and it's the man who's created the image of God who has the authority to execute judgment. It's not an either or, it's a “both and”.

And then, "And you be fruitful and multiply. Team on the earth and multiply in it." See, that reinstitution of the cultural mandate there to fill. Then God said to Noah and his sons, "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offering after you and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast on the earth with you, as many as come out of the arc, it is for every beast of the earth I establish my covenant with you that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood. And never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." Then He talks about the sign of the rainbow. That is the covenant sign of that covenant. Then there's the curse of Ham and his sin at the end of that.

Now it's very interesting here that Genesis chapter nine is the second time the word covenant shows up. It shows up seven times in this particular text. It's all over the place. Once in Genesis 6:18, and then seven times here. So it's really high covenantal language. God is not establishing a new covenant, but He's re-establishing the covenant of common grace back from Genesis 3:14 and 3:15.

It's important to also understand before I move on, that this covenant is not just with Noah and his offspring, but with all the animals and the whole earth. It's a universal covenant and it's an administration of the covenant of grace, but I want to say this about it. It's a universal non redemptive administration of the covenant of grace. Universal, it applies to everybody, those in Adam, those in Christ. Non redemptive, which means it's not saving anybody. It's actually sustaining the world until God would save people. It's a slightly different administration of the covenant of grace.

Then you've got covenant signs, which is back in Genesis two, you could eat vegetables. Now you can eat vegetables and meat, but you can't eat the blood. There's something special about the blood. We're going to find out about that in Leviticus, because the life is in the blood and God will require blood for sin. Then there's the sanction for capital punishment. So you can eat meat, no blood, sanction for capital punishment, the end of the story. That's the way that the institution of the state there to restrain evil so that it doesn't become as bad as it was prior to the days of Noah.

III. Table of Nations and Tower of Babel (08:07):

The text moves on then, right from the Tower of Babel and the Table of Nations, where we get the sin here is in the Tower of Babel that they're not filling the earth. They decided they're going to stay in one spot and they're not letting God come to them, they're trying to get to God by building a tower into heaven, which is what idolatry is. "I do it my way" kind of thing.

IV. Abraham (08:31):

God subverts that by causing confusion of the languages. I’m thankful for all these different languages to be engaged, because I make my living teaching different languages. So I have job assurance until the eschaton, that we need people to instruct the languages. Then we have Noah preserved. Then we have Shem, the Shem seed, then we have Tara, and it climaxes in Abraham. God reaches out to Abraham and converts Abraham. Then promises him something, covenants with him something, gives him a sign of that covenant and shows him how that covenant's going to take transaction. So I'm going to quickly take you through these. These are the four programmatic texts of the Abraham covenant. I'm going to quickly take you through the promise, the covenant, the sign, and the cost.

A. The Promise (09:23):

Okay, the promise occurs in Genesis 12:1 to 12:3. "Now the Lord said to Abraham, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and I'll make your name great so you'll be a blessing.'" Then it says how He's going to do it as it states, "I will bless those who bless you. And who dishonors you, I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So he's going to get land, descendants, blessing, and he's going to be a conduit of blessing to all the nations of the earth. That's the Abrahamic promise.

As they go into Egypt, Abraham and Lot separate. Abraham rescues Lot. Abraham's blessed by Melchizedek, and now we come to Genesis chapter 15. The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision where He says, "Fear not, Abraham. I am your shield and your very great reward." This is where wherever it says, "God, my shield", it's coming right from this text. This is the background for it, so it can be helpful to us.

What does it mean that God is my shield? Abraham said, "Oh Lord God, what will you give me? For I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus." And Abraham said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the Lord came to him. "This man shall not be your heir. Your very own son, or your very own, shall be your heir." And He brought him outside and said, "Look toward the heavens and the number of the stars. And if you're able to number them," then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed in the Lord and he counted it to Him, "his righteousness", something quoted in the New Testament.

He had faith, and so therefore he was reckoned righteous because he believed the promise of God. The Lord said to him, "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land." So, the reference to the divine name there, this is a preamble and historical prologue. Remember it's going to say later "I am Yahweh, your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt." That's how all the covenants begin. So we got the hint of a covenant here. "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess."

B. The covenant (11:44):

But he said, "Oh Lord God, how am I able to know that I shall possess it?" He said to him, okay, this is how to know clause, right. This is how we would do it every day. "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old and a turtle dove and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half and laid each half over against the other, but he did not cut the birds in half. And when the birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abraham drove them away.

So what in the world is going on here? In Hebrew, when you make a covenant, you don't make a covenant. That's how we translate it. You cut a covenant. Okay, so the verbs here are not “to make”, but “to cut”. We're kind of updating them. So you cut a covenant when you're making a new covenant. The reason you cut a covenant is because all covenant making usually requires a vow and an oath ritual that involves blood. You can even think of the consummation of a marriage. There is a blood ritual. That's exactly how it works. It's how we were created in that image.

When he's laying these pieces out, the lesser party or both parties walk through the covenant pieces together and say, "May it be to me, like these pieces, if I fail to keep the covenant or to obey the terms of the covenant." I've taught this at my kids' elementary school before. What I do is I get rubber chickens and cut them in half in ketchup, and then lay them down in a line like that. So you're walking a trail of blood. The kids really get it at that point.

Abraham and Yahweh are about to enter into a covenant together by walking through these things and saying, "May it be to me, like these animals, bloody and cut in half, if I don't keep my promises and if you don't obey the terms of the covenant." But you know what happens here, we don't have what we think is going to happen, have happen. It states "As the sun was going to down a deep sleep", this is the same deep sleep of Adam, "fell on Abraham. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell on him. Then the Lord said to Abraham, 'Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be your servants there. And they'll be afflicted for 400 years.'"

Look, this is way before it happens. This is 400 years before the 400 years happens. "But I will bring judgment on the nations that they serve. And afterward they shall come out with great possessions." We know the story. "'And as for yourself, you should go to your father's in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age and you shall not come back here until the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.' Then when the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces."

Now, you know what the smoking fire pot and the flaming torch are, right? Those are the two pillars of Yahweh's presence that we see, for example, in Sinai, the column of smoke and column of fire. So this is another theophany, an appearance of God to Abraham. On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying, "To your offspring, I will give this land from the river Egypt to the great river Euphrates, land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites, but not the mosquito bites."

All right, now what's shocking about this is that Abraham never walks through the pieces. It's only God who walks through the pieces saying, "I will do this, Abraham. And if I don't do it, may I become like these things. I will take the blow of the covenant curse for you." That's why He calls himself the shield at the beginning. It’s because the shield in battle is at which takes the blow that saves your life, right? That's what that metaphor means. So in the Psalms and later when you see, "God is my shield", it's a reference to this, that He's the God who will fulfill His promises to you, at the cost of His own life, which is remarkable because we see this happening on the cross. He's keeping the Abrahamic promise by undergoing the curse of this Genesis 15. Does that make sense?

So that's why when we had the covenant signs up there before, I called the Abrahamic promise a unilateral covenant of grant. That is, it's not based on Abraham's obedience. It's based on the obedience of someone else. The Mosaic administration, you’ve got to obey to keep the promise. Covenant of works, you’ve got to obey to get the promise, right. Here it's, "I'm going to suffer a curse so you can get the promise." Do you see the difference? The covenant administrations have slightly different nuances and emphasis and you got to be careful to know which one we're talking about. So that's good.

C. The sign (16:13):

Then in Genesis chapter 17, the Lord gives Abraham the sign of the covenant. The sign of the covenant is circumcision. It is circumcision for two reasons. One, it is symbolic. If you don't have faith like Abraham, you will be cut off. It's a self maledictory oath where you take upon yourself a sign or a symbol like the walking through the pieces. You'll be cut off. So if you don't believe and have faith like Abraham, you'll be cut off. If you're not a seed of Abraham like that, a spiritual seed eventually. Okay, that's the first thing.

The second thing is that the male reproductive organ is a covenant making organ. We see that from the Genesis chapter two marriage covenant. When the two become one, that's the means. You can think about the euphemism too. When Abraham would put his hand under a servant's thigh to make an oath. That's a euphemism for the male reproductive organ because that's a covenant making organ. So we might think it's a little inappropriate in our day and age, but they understood what it meant. They were getting at the very source of things.

The promise of the covenant, land, and blessings are for those nations. We’ve discussed the way it's going to take place and the covenant itself. God himself will accomplish it even at the cost of His own life by suffering the curses of it. We have the sign of the covenant, a covenant making symbol where if you don't obey and believe, if you don't believe and therefore obey, you'll be cut off.

D. The cost (17:45):

Then finally, this 22 is going back to 55. How will that curse be paid for? This is the account of the binding of Isaac. They call it the Akeida in Jewish circles because that's the word for binding, the binding of Isaac. Abraham is commanded to take his one and only son, which is interesting because he's got Ishmael, but it's the one and only son of the covenant promise, and offer him up as a whole burnt offering.


Abraham obeys. He takes two servants with him. They go to Mount Moriah, they hike the mountain. What's interesting is it says before they go up, they leave the servant boys behind and he says, "The boy and I will go up and worship and come back." We know from the book of Hebrews that Abraham surmised that if he had to kill him, that God would have to raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promise.

So he trusted God, and then God stopped his hand when the knife was coming down. You can imagine Isaac, "Dad, the fire, the fire, the wood. Where's the goat?" "The Lord will provide", it says. And the word there is, "The Lord will see to it." That's really the word. We see then that God provides a substitute. He stays the wrath. He stays judgment on the one who really deserved it. It was really Abraham and Isaac who deserved the curse of the covenant. But he stayed that wrath and he provided a substitute. This is again the picture of how Jesus is going to be the way in which God's wrath has stayed from us by Jesus taking on the curse that we deserve.

So when we get to heaven, we can approach the tone of grace with boldness, it says. Why? It’s because He's already paid the cost and suffered the curse that we deserve. He's paid, paid, paid, paid. All of this is a picture of the gospel right here and how that's going to happen. Genesis chapter 15 and 22 are texts that really deal with what we call penal substitutionary atonement, or punitive substitutionary atonement. That is, that God himself will suffer the curse on our behalf. Remember back in Genesis 12 where it said, "I'll bless those who bless you. And I will curse those who curse you." Remember God had to end up cursing his people, Israel, because they were unfaithful to the covenant. If He says, "I will curse those who curse you, then He has to bring himself under the oath to fulfill that and He did.

So, I'm always amazed that the gospel is so strongly presented in the Old Testament, but I never really got it as a kid or young adult until I really went hard at it. I'm always trying to be overly clear about these things.

V. History of the patriarchs (20:22):

Then the book continues with Isaac and Jacob and the birth of the 12 patriarchs. All of these barren women are having kids everywhere. It's great. Again, it's the crisis of the seed all throughout Genesis. "I'm barren, I'm having a baby." "I'm barren, I'm having a baby." Then you have the birth off with Jacob's wives Rachel and Leah and the two maid servants. So they're having a birth-a-thon until they get 12. Then we have in the midst of that, the crisis of the seed again, because one of the seeds is going to be innocent. They're going to send Joseph away.

So Joseph is Jacob's favorite and the brothers hate it. They give Joseph this funny coat. It's either a multicolored coat or it's really probably a long sleeve coat, one of the two options. But what do we know about clothing? Inheritance, he was going to be the firstborn, right, even though he was not the firstborn. Think of Ruben, he’s really mad now. And he was treated special. And so what do they do? They took his coat away and sent him into exile down in Egypt. When he comes back, when all the brothers come back and he forgives him what does he give to all them? Clothing. So you can see how this clothing stuff works out where you're just thinking, "Why does everyone like these clothes?" They're probably not very comfortable back then, but they're symbolic of inheritance.

So he was saying, "I'm an heir with you." He's saying, "We share the inheritance together." Joseph did get the double blessing because Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, his sons. If you look at the map of the tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh dominate. They're really geographically the largest owners of that, so they got that kind of thing going on.

VI. Joseph Narrative (22:06):

So the story ends, the theme of the Joseph narrative is the theme of the book of Genesis and it's the theme of the Bible. I want to give that to you.

So here's how it happened. Joseph had dreams, they became jealous. They were going to kill him. They said, "No, don't kill him. Let's just put him in a pit, send him down to sell him into slavery." They told their dad he was dead, took his jacket. He was down there. He experienced wrongful imprisonment twice, but then again, raised to prominence as second in Egypt, just like later Daniel and Esther will become. So you can see this type scene playing out. Well, Joseph and Esther save the world, basically, or saved their people. It's the same kind of thing. These are important. They're playing out over and over again, these stories.

The theme of it is found in Genesis 50:15 to 50:21 and this is how we'll finish. "When Joseph's brother saw that their father was dead, they said, 'It may be now the Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.'" So they sent a message to Joseph saying, "Your father gave this command before he died." So they're lying to him,"Say to Joseph, 'Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin because they did evil to you.'" This is the same word for Israel, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, in Judges. "'And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.'" Joseph wept when they spoke to him because they knew he was lying. He knew they were lying and it broke his heart. That after all he had done, they still thought that he was not on their side.

His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God. As for you, you meant evil against me." In verse 20, "But God meant it for good to bring about that many people should be kept alive as they are today." That's the verse. "As for you, you did mean evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about that many people should be kept alive as it is this day. So do not fear. I'll provide for you and your little ones and he comforted them and spoke to them kindly. As for you, Adam and Eve, you meant evil against me."

But God isn't going to turn that evil into good by crushing the head of the serpent. It's a very good thing. The human catastrophe of sin will ultimately become a eucatastrophe when God reverses that sin and pays for it. The eu is the prefix for good. All right. A feeling is aphoria. A good feeling is a euphoria. I don't know how that works with ukulele or eucalyptus, but it's something like that.

With the covenant of redemption, it's important to note that the fall is plan A, right. It was the plan that they should fall. It was the plan that the brothers should send him into exile because there was something greater at stake. So the fall is plan A, not a mistake.

VIII. Conclusion (25:17):

As such, human sin, rebellion and evil will be turned on its head in the ultimate ironic reversal. How will this happen? The sons of Israel, Jacob, will hand their brother to death out of jealousy and anger. Their brother, Jesus, the sons that will. That death will be the means by which they're ultimately saved. This is the gospel promised beforehand in the book of Genesis. That which the Jews meant for evil against Jesus, God meant it for good for them, first the Jew, and then the Gentile. So the story of Joseph, this wisdom narrative, is a story of the gospel and how God will take that which has been done that's evil and turn into good for his people.

That brings us to the conclusion of the book of Genesis. Also, by the way, for the literary significance of the ending of Genesis with the visiting and taking up of the bones. That was from that previous lecture that I talked about, this seams of the cannon. So that's important, we didn't cover it there since we already covered it before.