Light vs. the Sun in Genesis 1

The creation of light on Day 1, before creation of the sun (on the 4th day), has profound theological significance.  All ancient, pagan peoples worshiped the Sun as the source of light.  In Genesis 1 God reveals that light preceded the sun, and its source was the very Word of God (Genesis 1:3).  The Apostle John makes clear in his gospel that Jesus Christ, the Word [of God] (John 1:1), was the Divine Agent of creation (John 1:3) and “the true Light” (John 1:9).  The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of worship (Revelation 4:11), and all men past or present who “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served [any aspect of] the creation more than the Creator” are fools and idolaters (cf. Romans 1:22-25).  In Genesis 1, the literal, historical order of Divine creation is a rebuke to all pagan perversions of theological truth.


Not Apostasy, But Rapture!

Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians was written as a response to a query that church had sent to the Apostle. The Thessalonians were troubled by a letter they had received, purportedly from Paul (but actually a forgery), alleging that they had entered into “the day of the LORD” (2Thess2:2). They were troubled by this since Paul had previously taught them that the rapture of the Church would happen before the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Tribulation period (1Thess4:13-5:9); if this allegation were true, and the day of the LORD had indeed begun, that meant the believers in Thessalonica had been left behind! It should be noted that the believers in Thessalonica were undergoing intense (albeit local) persecution (1Thess3:2-4), so that it was no doubt tempting for them to believe that the Tribulation had begun.

Paul’s reply was to immediately remind them of what he had previously taught them (2Thess2:5); namely, that the Antichrist cannot even be “revealed”, which begins the Tribulation (Dan9:27), until after an event he calls “the falling away” (2Thess2:3). The Greek noun translated “falling away” is apostasia, transliterated as ‘apostasy’ in some English versions. The correct translation of apostasia is ‘departure’; exactly what kind of departure is in view depends upon context, and can just as likely mean a physical departure as it does a departure from the faith (i.e., apostasy). It is interesting that all English translations before the KJV rendered apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as “departure”, whereas the KJV and most subsequent translations render it “falling away” or something which similarly implies the ‘departure’ is religious in nature. There is nothing in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, however, that demands (or even suggests) that the departure to which Paul refers be non-physical.

Furthermore, in the Greek text there is the definite article in conjunction with apostasia, so that the best translation is not “a falling away”, but “the departure”. The use of the definite article means that Paul is referring to a specific event that he expects is already known to the Thessalonians. Since Paul’s first epistle to them included the most detailed revelation of the rapture of the Church in the N.T., and in fact mentions the rapture in every chapter (1Thess1:9-10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:1-11), while not one reference to a religious apostasy or departure from the faith occurs, context demands that the specific departure to which Paul refers is the rapture. The context of 2 Thessalonians 2 also supports this, since the rapture, referred to as “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him”, introduces the chapter (2Thess2:1). Thus, the evidence is overwhelming that the departure Paul holds out as necessarily taking place before “the day of the LORD” and the revealing of the Antichrist is the rapture of the Church. Thus, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is the most explicit teaching of the Pre-Trib rapture in the Bible.


Significance of the Biblical Covenants

F. Albright, the father of American Biblical archeology, made the sweeping observation in 1968 that “only the Hebrews, so far as we know, made covenants with their . . . God.” The fact that God deals with man by means of covenants is incredibly significant and immensely practical. The ancient pagan lived a life of fear and uncertainty, never sure of how to please his gods or how they would react to his actions; his gods were by their nature capricious and, therefore, unpredictable (e.g., this continues to be true today for the Hindu gods, the Allah of Islam, and even the god of Mormonism). In contrast, the Biblical Covenants establish a stable and predictable relationship between men and Jehovah. By infallibly recording the terms of the covenant in writing, which is supernaturally preserved throughout all of history (Psalm 12:6-7; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:24-25), the performance of both parties (i.e., Jehovah and men) with regard to the terms of the covenants can be objectively measured. The Biblical Covenants allow Jehovah to demonstrate His attributes of faithfulness and immutability to His creation, and the stable foundation they provide for man allow him to live a life free of fear and uncertainty regarding the future.


Return of the Nephilim

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37)

 

Introduction

In response to His disciples’ questions regarding “the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3), Jesus delivered an extended discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) detailing many specific signs for which they should “watch” (cf. Mark 13:32-37). Near the end of the Matthew and Luke accounts of this Olivet Discourse, Jesus gives what many have taken to be merely a summary statement of world conditions just prior to the Rapture and the subsequent start of the Tribulation (i.e., Daniel’s 70th Week; Daniel 9:27), presumed to have relatively little specific import, but what may in fact be the preeminent sign associated with the end of the Church Age. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37; Cp., Luke 17:26). Jesus characterized world conditions immediately preceding the Rapture as being like those preceding the Flood of Noah. What did He mean by this?

The Days of Noah

Matthew and Luke both go on to record Jesus as saying, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were . . . marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark” (Matthew 24:38; Cp., Luke 17:27). Most have understood these words to mean that life in the antediluvian world was entirely normal, even mundane, with people going about their lives having no idea that anything out of the ordinary was imminent, and they were taken completely by surprise at the sudden intervention of God into history. They have used this understanding to argue that what Jesus was communicating is that world conditions just before the Rapture will be normal, ordinary, mundane, with no one expecting the nearness of the end.

The problem with such an understanding is that the Genesis 6 account of the conditions that set the stage for the Flood of Noah do not describe a normal, ordinary, mundane scenario. The context found there for God judging the entire world with a Flood that destroyed all but eight persons is “that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all whom they chose” (Genesis 6:2; note that Jesus’ words made specific mention of “marriage” and “giving in marriage”, Matthew 24:38). Ancient Jewish and early Christian commentators uniformly understood “the sons of God” to be a reference to angels (Cp., Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:6), in this case fallen angels, who through sexual intercourse with human women produced a hybrid race having superhuman abilities, referred to as the Nephilim[1] (Genesis 6:4). So widespread was this angelic activity that it threatened to utterly corrupt the human race, making the prophesied coming of Messiah to redeem mankind moot (cf. Hebrews 2:14-16). It was for this reason that God destroyed all flesh in the Flood (Genesis 6:17), save Noah who was “perfect in his generations” (i.e., genetically uncorrupted; Genesis 6:9), and imprisoned those fallen angels that had participated in this diabolical plan. This is not speculation, as both Peter and Jude make allusion to these ancient historical facts in their prophecies of coming, worldwide apostasy (2 Peter 2:4-5; Jude 6-7).

And Also After That

Genesis 6:4 asserts that this phenomenon of angelic incursion upon the earth for the purpose of sexual intercourse with human women to produce the Nephilim took place in the days of Noah “and also after that”. When the Israelites spied out the Promised Land following their exodus from Egypt, they refused to enter because it was occupied by “giants” (Heb., Nephilim; Numbers 13:33). Though the details are not given, we suppose that another incursion of fallen angels had occurred, this time apparently limited to the geographical area of Canaan, to begin again a race of the Nephilim. Acting on the limited information he had before the Flood, Satan had to attempt to corrupt the genome of the entire human race in order to prevent the coming of Messiah (prophesied to be a human descendant of Adam/Eve; Genesis 3:15). By the time of Moses, Satan understood by revelation from God that Messiah would be a human descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e., a Jew; Genesis 12:3), and even more specifically a descendant of Jacob’s son Judah (Genesis 49:10), so he could focus his plan to corrupt the human genome to that of the Jewish race. Understanding this fact makes comprehensible God’s command forbidding intermarriage with, and ultimately the utter destruction of, the Canaanites, Amorites, and associated tribes dwelling in the Promised Land (cf. Deuteronomy 7:1-3), since they were Nephilim (even the women and children!). God’s command to destroy the tribes in Canaan was for the same reason, and to accomplish the same purpose, as the Flood of Noah; namely, to eradicate the race of the Nephilim and their corrupt genetic strain by which Satan attempted to prevent the coming of Messiah.

The Future Seed of the Serpent

The very first prophecy recorded in the Bible is Genesis 3:15. As a judgment on the serpent (i.e., Satan; Revelation 12:9) for his participation in the fall of humanity, God declared, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”. This verse prophesies the coming of two persons: 1) the seed of the woman, which is Christ, and 2) the seed the serpent, which will be Antichrist. When Christ came, he was genetically a unique mixture of divine seed and uncorrupted human seed, the God-man (Luke 1:35). In an analogous manner, when Antichrist comes, he will be a genetic mixture of Satan’s angelic seed with human seed, a Nephilim. It is for this reason that both Daniel and Revelation refer to Antichrist as “the beast”, for he will not be (entirely) human.

But the angelic incursion upon the earth in the last days will not be an isolated, solitary occurrence restricted to the generation of the Antichrist. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the angelic incursion will be much broader, “as it was in the days of Noah” (Luke 17:26). Daniel 2:40-44 indicates that the ten kings of the prophesied fourth Gentile kingdom, the Revived Roman Empire, “shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” (Daniel 2:43). Expanding on Daniel’s prophecies, John reveals that the “ten horns” of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:7), equivalent to the “ten toes” of the fourth kingdom (Daniel 2:40-42), “are ten kings” (Revelation 17:12). The verb translated “are” is eisin, a present tense indicative verb in Greek, meaning that these “ten kings” existed in John’s day (c. 95 AD), but “who have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast”. Since no human will live from the first century until the coming of Antichrist at least two thousand years later, the obvious inference is that these “ten kings” of the Revived Roman Empire will not be human, but angelic principalities (as are also in view in Daniel 10:13,20). Thus, when Daniel prophesies that these ten angelic principalities will “mingle themselves with the seed of men” (Daniel 9:43), he is talking about yet another incursion of angels upon the earth to produce Nephilim, including, but not limited to, the Antichrist.

Conclusion

Scripture reveals that fallen angels have come upon the earth and used human women to produce a hybrid race called the Nephilim. The first such an incursion took place before the Flood of Noah and was indeed the cause for God’s world-wide judgment at that time. At least one additional incursion occurred in the past after the Flood in the region of Canaan and was the cause for God’s call for the Israelites to utterly eradicate those peoples dwelling in the Promised Land. Satan’s objective in these previous angelic incursions appears to have been the corruption of the human (or Jewish) genome, thus preventing the coming of Messiah, He who will be the agent of his own prophesied destruction (Genesis 3:15).

When Jesus taught His disciples that, “as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37), He was undoubtedly asserting that the time preceding His return (i.e., the last days) would be characterized by another angelic incursion upon the earth to produce additional Nephilim, the central figure of which will be the literal seed of Satan, which Scripture most often designates as the Beast, but who is more commonly known today as the Antichrist.

 

Endnotes:

[1] Nephilim is a transliteration of the Hebrew word used in Genesis 6:4, translated “giants” in many English versions. The Nephilim were giants (as tall as cedar trees; cf. Amos 2:9), but their superhuman characteristics included more than their physical stature. The advanced technology that has been discovered to exist in the ancient world, which modern unbelievers are ever so anxious to attribute to aliens, should probably be understood to be accomplishments of the Nephilim.


The Name of Jesus in the O.T.

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead … neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10,12)

The name of Jesus, as we have it in the New Testament by way of the Greek language, or Joshua (i.e., Yeshua) in Hebrew, means “Jehovah [i.e., the Lord] is salvation”. As the angel told Joseph, the child to be born of the virgin Mary was to be named “JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The child was also to be called “Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us” (Matthew 1:23); that Jesus would be known as Immanuel (i.e., a manifestation of God Himself) is not uniquely a New Testament notion, but comes directly from the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14).

In a similar way, the name JESUS also comes from the Old Testament. Isaiah 62:11 reveals:

“Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the earth, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”

In this verse given through the prophet Isaiah, “salvation” (Heb., Yesha) is a Person (note the masculine pronouns “his” and “him” used in the clauses that follow). A Person who will be known as “salvation” is said to be coming, bringing both his “reward” and his “work”; clearly, this is the Person of JESUS. Compare this verse with Isaiah 40:10, which reads:

“Behold, the Lord God will come … behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”

Isaiah 40:10 asserts exactly the same truth, using exactly the same words, as Isaiah 62:11, but in this instance the Person known as “salvation” is identified as “the Lord God”. Thus, the Person known as “salvation”, that is Jesus, is equated with Divinity; Jesus and Jehovah are one (cf. 10:30). Such equations of “Jesus” and “Jehovah”, which are implicit assertions of the Deity of Jesus Christ, are common between the New and Old Testaments (Cp., Hebrews 1:8; Psalm 45:6).

Finally, consider the words of Jesus Himself, spoken in the closing chapter of the Bible. Revelation 22:12 records Jesus as saying:

“… behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me …”

Jesus takes the words of “the Lord God” spoken in Isaiah 40:10, the very same words that in Isaiah 62:11 are ascribed to a Person known as “salvation”, for Himself. Jesus connects the dots for us. The name of “Jesus”, by which alone comes salvation, just like “Immanuel” comes straight out of the Old Testament!


Signs of the Second Coming

“And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:32-37)

The Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for failing to recognize the signs of His First Coming (Matthew 16:1-3). Obvious signs they should have recognized included: 1) the virgin birth in Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-14), 2) prophesied Messianic miracles (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-21), and 3) Daniel’s prophecy of the 69 Weeks which gave the very day Messiah would present himself to Israel (Daniel 9:25; Luke 19:41-44).

During His ministry at His First Coming, Jesus taught there would also be signs that precede His Second Coming (Matthew 24:3ff; Luke 21:25-28). For these signs (Mark 13:4), Jesus commanded us all to “Watch” (Mark 13:32-37).

A new study titled Signs of the Second Coming has been added in the Biblical Studies area.


Humanism and Truth

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life . . .” (John 14:6)

Humanism is that worldview that makes man the center of all things and exalts human reason to a position of either equality with, or even superiority over, divine revelation (i.e., the Bible). Humanism exists in two forms, secular and religious. Secular humanism is the atheistic form of humanism. It rejects the existence of God, so it must be committed solely to naturalistic explanations for the origin of the universe and life. Today, it embraces the Big Bang Theory to explain the origin of the universe (which violates both the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics) and the Theory of Evolution to explain the origin and development of life (which violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). It peddles these theories as “science”, though they violate the most fundamental, well-validated laws upon which all science is founded (cf. Ps14:1; Rom1:22). Secular humanism is the dominant worldview in America today, and public education, from kindergarten through graduate school, is a taxpayer-funded system committed to indoctrinating American youth in it. Secular humanism is the clearly declared enemy of the Bible-believing Christian.

But humanism also exists in a religious form. Religious humanism has a veneer that can appear religious, even Christian, and it can even profess to believe the Bible to be the Word of God, but behind the façade is an absolute commitment to naturalistic explanations in the arena of science. Religious humanism accepts the Big Bang and Evolution as proven by “science” (i.e., these are the instruments God used to “create”), so it embraces non-literal ways of interpreting the Bible in order to accommodate them. As a contemporary example of this, consider the quote from Dr. Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Heath, and founder of the BioLogos Foundation:

Foundational to the BioLogos vision is the belief that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God… We have found that the methods of the natural sciences provide the most reliable guide to understanding the material world, and the current evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process. Thus we affirm that evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves His purposes. [1]

Here, “evolution” should be understood in its broadest sense as the naturalistic explanation for the origin of the universe as well as all life in it. Thus, despite Dr. Collins’ claim to believe the Bible to be the “inspired and authoritative Word of God”, in the arena of the “natural sciences” he clearly subordinates divine revelation to human reason.

Similarly, Dr. Hugh Ross is an astronomer who founded the Reasons to Believe ministry for the purpose of “integrating science and faith”. His statement of faith published on the ministry’s web site affirms:

We believe the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the Word of God, written. As a “God-breathed” revelation, it is thus verbally inspired and completely without error (historically, scientifically, morally, and spiritually) in its original writings… The Bible is therefore our supreme and final authority in all matters that it addresses. [2]

And yet, based on the conclusions of modern science Dr. Ross and his ministry teach that: 1) God used the Big Bang to create the universe, 2) the days of the Creation Week are really millions/billions of years in duration, 3) a pre-Fall race of hominids existed before Adam, and 4) that the Flood of Noah was not global in extent. The Bible-believer must ask, “How are these beliefs consistent with his assertion that the Bible is the supreme and final authority in all matters that it addresses?” This is equivocation in the extreme, which is the only way that religious humanism can maintain its façade of an authoritative Bible.

Religious humanism, therefore, is not only bad science, it’s also bad religion (Prov14:12; Jn17:17). Religious humanism is a more subtle enemy of the Bible-believing Christian than secular humanism, but for that reason it’s probably the more dangerous one.

Endnotes:

[1]  BioLogos Foundation Website, http://biologos.org/about, accessed October 19, 2011.

[2]  Reasons to Believe Website, http://www.reasons.org/about-us/our-beliefs, accessed October 19, 2011.


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