Archives

Exodus 1-6:

Exodus Overview:
The book of Exodus is broken up into two halves: the first – the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt; and the second – the establishment of the Covenant at Mount Sinai. The Israelites leave Egypt not as slaves or refugees but as a plundering army with gold and silver, dramatically attesting to the power of God’s deed. From there, they cross the Red Sea and enter into the slower drama of the wilderness experience in the Sinai Desert. There are four main themes associated with the book of Exodus: (1) Revelation (God reveals to Moses and Israel His name, YHWH); (2) Salvation (from Egypt and through the Sea and in the desert); (3) Covenant (the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai); and (4) Glory (YHWH comes to dwell with the Israelites in the Meeting Tent, Tabernacle and Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant.)

The Sons of Israel in Egypt:
Joseph and all his brothers eventually died, and “a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.” The Israelites were “fruitful and increased,” and “became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.” Jewish scholars have pointed out that “fruitful and increased” echoes the story of Creation when God told Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). This implies a type of “Second Creation” with the forming of the Jewish nation. God charged this specific group of people, the Israelites, with spreading monotheism to the whole world and a universal ethical and moral code. In short, they would make the one true God known to the world. The Jews would become God’s people who would prepare the way, and eventually, give birth to the Messiah.

The Midwives and the Hebrew Boys:
The Pharaoh and the Egyptians, however, grew fearful of them as a foreign people and a foreign bloodline in their country. So, set taskmasters over them, and “reduced them to cruel slavery.” “Thus they had to build for Pharaoh the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.” The King of Egypt then orders the midwives working for the Hebrews “if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.” (Ex. 1:16) “The midwives, however, feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt had ordered them, but let the boys live.” (Ex. 1:17) After the king confronted the midwives, the Pharaoh then orders all his subjects to: “Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls life.” (Ex. 1:22)

The Slaughter of the Innocence:
This, of course, is a foreshadowing centuries later of King Herod’s decree to slaughter all the first-born males in Bethlehem, the slaughter of the innocence. Evil feeds off the blood of the most innocent, like the practice of infant sacrifice to Molech. King Herod was troubled by the Magi’s prediction of a male Savior born at the time, so in a jealous rage he tried to kill him, by killing all the young male babies. “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under..” (Mt. 2:16) Here too the Egyptians seek to snuff out the life of the Israelites by slaughtering all the newborn males. One source from the Midrash actually relates that Pharaoh was warned by his sorcerers and astrologers that a male savior of the Israelites was about to be born. This would explain why he sought to kill all the young male infants. This would be repeated again in the time of Jesus’ birth. Pharaoh was a type and forerunner to Herod, just as Moses was a type and forerunner to Jesus. Jesus is, in fact, the “new Moses.”

Water and the Birth of Moses:
Moses was born to ordinary Levi parents. However, “When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket, daubed it with bitumen and pitch, and putting the child in it, placed it among the reeds on the river bank.” (Ex. 2:3) Pharaoh’s daughter came down the Nile River bank and saw the basket among the reeds had her handmaid fetch it. She was “moved with pity” upon seeing the baby Hebrew boy, and decided to have one of the Hebrew women (his own mother) nurse him. Later, after “the child grew” Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him as her son, and called him Moses because “I drew him out of the water.” This is meant as a direct allusion to Noah’s Ark. The Hebrew word tevah is used for both Noah’s Ark and Moses’ wicker basket. Just as God had established a new world with the Flood and saving Noah from the waters in the Ark, YHWH would now establish another creation of the Jewish nation by pulling Moses from the waters. These are, of course, forerunners and a typology for Jesus, who makes us new creations through the waters of Baptism. The precursor creations of Noah and Moses give way to the truly new creation brought about by Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Moses Flight from Egypt:
After Moses had grown up, he witnessed an Egyptian striking a fellow Hebrew, and so, Moses slew him. Soon, the affair was known and Moses became afraid that Pharaoh would try to kill him. Moses fled to the land of Midian in the Arabian Peninsula. There, Moses is invited into the House of Jethro who has seven daughters. He marries his daughter Zipporah and have a son, Gershom.

The Burning Bush:
While tending his flock near the mountain of God, Mount Horeb, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.” (Ex. 3:2) “As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, ‘I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.'” (Ex. 3:3) God called out to him from the bush “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God tells Moses He is the God of his father, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has heard the cry of his people in affliction in Egypt. “Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey..”(Ex. 3:8) God then tells Moses that He is sending him to Pharaoh and to lead His people the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses responds, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” God answers him, “I will be with you.”

I AM:
Then, Moses asks God if the Israelites ask him what is the name of God that sent him. “God replied, ‘I Am Who Am.’ Then He added: ‘This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.'” (Ex. 3:14) God tells Moses that His name is the verb “to be.” God is existence itself. God essence is being itself. “I Am Who Am” forms the letters YHWH, or with the Hebrew vowels, Yahweh. Yahweh is “Being,” “I Am,” or simply “Is.” The Hebrews considered the name of God too holy so subsequently through the Torah God is referred to simply as “Adonai” or “Lord.”

Jesus and I AM:
This is why Jesus’ proclamation centuries later that He is I AM is so shocking and the Jews were so scandalized. John chapter 8 has an incredible dialogue between Jesus and some of the Jewish hierarchy. They claim that Abraham is their ancestor and father. But, Jesus tells them: “‘Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him.” (John 8: 56-59) Jesus claims the name of God, and so, claims equality with God. Jesus and I AM are one.

Moses’ Mission:
Yahweh gives Moses his mission. “I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated in Egypt; so I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Ex. 3:17) Yahweh then tells Moses to assemble the elders of Israel and go to the Pharaoh to “permit us” to go three days journey into the desert to offer sacrifice to the Lord. God tells Moses beforehand that Pharaoh will not permit it but will force God to work “wondrous deeds.”

Moses’ Objections:
Moses objects to God, “suppose they will not believe me, nor listen to my plea?” God then changes Moses staff into a serpent. Then, He commanded Moses to take hold of the serpent, and when he did, it became his staff again. God then tests Moses again by turning his hand leprous, and back to normal again. Moses complains to the Lord again, “If you please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Ex. 4:10) The Lord losing patience with Moses commands him: “Go, then!” Yet, Moses persisted “If you please, Lord, send someone else!” Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said, ‘Have you not your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know that he is an eloquent speaker. . . He shall speak to the people for you.”

Moses’ Staff of God:
God commands him to take his shepherding staff with him by which Yahweh will work miracles. Moses remains a shepherd, but now he is the shepherd of the Israelites. This is also reminiscent of the humble David and his sling defeating the giant Goliath. Moses and his shepherd’s staff defeats the military might of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army.

God’s First-Born Son:
The Lord instructed Moses, “‘So you shall say to Pharaoh: ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my son, my first-born.'” Israel is God’s firstborn who He called out of Egypt. Israel is a foreshadowing again of Jesus, who is God’s firstborn and only Son. He too is also called out of Egypt.

Pharaoh’s Obduracy:
After Moses and Aaron make the request of Pharaoh to let the Israelites go for three days, even using the word “please” (“nah” in Hebrew) he refuses. Moses was essentially asking Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to offer animal sacrifices to Yahweh, but the Egyptians worshiped animals. The Israelites would in essence be sacrificing the gods of Egypt. Instead, Pharaoh tells the Hebrews, and their taskmasters and foreman, that they shall now have to gather their own straw and make the same amount of bricks for “They are lazy.” “Off to work, then!” Moses then bitterly complained to the Lord, “you have done nothing to rescue them.” (Ex. 5:23)

God’s Response:
Yahweh answers Moses, “I am the Lord. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will rescue you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and you shall have Me as your God. You will know that I, the Lord, am your God when I free you from the labor of the Egyptians and bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your own possession – I, the Lord!” (Ex. 6:7-8)

The Four Promises and Four Cups:
These are the traditional verses why Jews drink four cups of wine at the Passover Seder. Each cup represents a divine promise: (1) “I will free you.. ” (2) “I will deliver you.. ” (3) “I will rescue/redeem you.. ” (4) “I will take you to be My people.. ” These are the same four cups of wine that Jesus and the Apostles celebrated at the Last Supper – the first Mass and Eucharist – and the next day at the crucifixion. Jesus frees us, delivers us, redeems us, and makes us His people. “And I will take you to be My people” is reminiscent of the ancient Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) in which a woman accepts a marriage proposal from a man and the man takes a wife. Israel and God are often shown metaphorically to be in a marriage relationship and covenant. This foreshadows the true Bridegroom and Bride, Jesus Christ and His Church. With Jesus’ Holy Communion and Crucifixion, He seals the marriage of Himself with His Church. Jesus and His followers are one, just as husband and wife become “one flesh.” The faithful of the Church are the bride to the Messianic groom Christ. In Heaven to come, as depicted in Revelation, the Church is at the “wedding feast of the Lamb.” The Bridegroom and Bride are united forever in the marriage of God and man.

Genesis 37-50:

Joseph and the Jealousy of His Brothers, the Sons of Israel:
Jacob, or Israel, now settled in the land of Canaan. Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, “for he was the child of his old age.” The special love of his father drew the jealously of the other sons. “When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.” (Gen. 37:4) To make matters worse, young Joseph began having dreams of his brothers bowing down to him. This only infuriated the brothers more. And so, they plotted to kill him. “They said to one another: ‘Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him..” (Gen. 37:19-20) After throwing him in an empty cistern, they came to their senses a little bit. Judah convinces the brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother our own flesh.” (Gen. 37:26-27) So, they decided rather than killing Joseph, they would sell him into slavery to a caravan of Ishmaelites.

Joseph as a Type of Christ:
Joseph is a type of Christ, a forerunner figure of the Messiah. Joseph is the beloved son of the father, Israel, just as Jesus is the beloved Son of God the Father. Joseph is rejected by his own people, his own family, just as Jesus is to be rejected by his own town of Nazareth, and eventually spurned by many of the Jewish people. Joseph’s brothers are enraged at the father for his special relationship with the son Joseph, just as later, the Pharisees are enraged at Jesus with His special relationship with God the Father. They want to kill Joseph, even though he is innocent, just as they want to kill Jesus, though He committed no sin. Joseph is thrown into the pit (well) of death but comes out to save others, just as Jesus dies on the Cross and rises to save others. Joseph is brought by the Ishmaelites into Egypt, just as Jesus would be brought to Egypt too.

Twenty Pieces of Silver:
It is interesting to note that the brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. It reads: “They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.” (Gen.37:28) One cannot help but think of Judas’ betrayal of Christ. “They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Mt. 26:15-16) Whereas Joseph’s brothers spared his life and did not spill his blood, the Pharisees, in the deepening darkness of sin in the world, saw to it that Jesus was crucified; they killed their brother. They cried out before Pilate “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” (Mt. 27:25)  

The Question of Onan and Masturbation:
Judah and Tamar had two sons, Er and Onan. When God was offended by Er, He took his life. So, then Judah told Onan, “Unite with your brother’s widow, in fulfillment of you duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.” (Gen. 38:8) Onan, however, did not obey. Onan “knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too.” (Gen. 38:9-10) Many have used this passage as a condemnation of masturbation. Although masturbation is a sin and outside the realm of normal sexual relations, I do not think that is the main point of this passage. God is greatly offended because Onan did not obey his father and selfishly did not do his duty towards his brother’s family, as would have been customary at the time.   

Joseph and Pharaoh’s Dreams:
After Joseph was brought into Egypt, he was assigned to a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of the Pharaoh and his chief steward. After being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into the royal prison where he was confined. However, after correctly interpreting some dreams for others, the Pharaoh summoned Joseph to his court because of perplexing dreams he was having. The Pharaoh dreamed of seven fat cows, and then seven ill cows. Then, he had another dream of seven healthy ears of grain, and then, seven shriveled ears of grain. Joseph answered Pharaoh: “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. . . Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the land of Egypt, but these will be followed by seven years of famine..” (Gen. 41: 29-30) Joseph then counsels Pharaoh to set up reserves of food to survive the coming years of famine. Pharaoh was greatly pleased by Joseph’s advice. Pharaoh then told Joseph, “I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Gen. 41:41) Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Later, Joseph would have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Famine and Joseph’s Rations:
Following the seven years of abundance, came seven years of famine, just as Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. When famine struck the whole region, they came to Egypt to obtain grain rations from Egypt’s abundance, that Joseph had established. Joseph is perhaps a type of Christ again providing a Eucharistic grain for the world. Caught up in this great famine are the land of Canaan, his family and his brothers. His brothers eventually come before him in the court of Pharaoh to ask for rations of grain. Joseph recognized them, but they do not recognize him. After submitting his brothers to some tests, he eventually confides in them that it is he, Joseph, their long-lost brother. “But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him.” (Gen. 45:3)

Joseph’s Faith and Forgiveness:
Joseph tells his brothers not to be distressed. He tells them: “It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” (Gen. 45:5) Again, this will echo the mission of Jesus who is sent ahead of us as the firstborn to save the lives of many. (Jn. 3:17) Joseph demonstrates his great faith and acceptance of God’s will to save many people and be exiled into Egypt. He tells his brothers: “God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made of me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:7-8) “Joseph then kissed all his brothers, crying over each of them;” (Gen. 45:15)

Israel and his Sons in the Land of Egypt:
Then Joseph sends for his father and the rest of his family to come stay with them in Egypt (the land of Goshen) and escape the famine. When they told Jacob/Israel that his son Joseph was still alive, he too was dumbfounded. Then, Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt. They settled in the region of Ramses. Before dying, Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim. Israel blessed the sons: with his right-hand he blessed Ephraim, even though he was the younger, and with his left hand he blessed Manasseh, even though he was the firstborn. Joseph protested this, but Israel told him: “I know. . . Nevertheless, his younger brother shall surpass him, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Gen. 48:19)

Israel’s Twelve Sons and the Twelve Tribes of Israel:
In Jacob’s last testament, he addressed and prophesied over his twelve sons, who were to become the twelve tribes of Israel. These are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph (later, Manasseh and Ephraim), and Benjamin. (Gen. 49)

The Scepter of Judah:
Jacob’s prophesy over Judah is of particular note as it is one of the earliest prophesies concerning the coming Messiah. Jacob says to Judah: “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise – your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. . . The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs. While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.” (Gen. 49:8-10) Jacob prophesies that the Messiah shall come out of Judah. The connection is made more explicit in the Gospel of Matthew, linking back to this prophesy from Jacob: “‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Mt. 2:6) Jesus Christ is, of course, born in the town of Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesus is the Messianic Son of David, who is from the Tribe of Judah.

Joseph Forgives them One More Time:
Joseph forgives his brothers again and reassures them: “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end, the survival of many people. Therefore have no fear.” (Gen. 50:20) Joseph then remained in Egypt, and lived to an age of 110 years old.

The Curious Question of the Patriarchs’ Ages:
Pre-Flood Lifespans:
There is an interesting phenomenon happening throughout the Genesis narrative of early human history: Age is decreasing. That is, the length of a human life decreases from Adam and the beginning of the world down to Joseph and Moses. This is particularly true of the Antediluvian Patriarchs: Adam lived to be 930 years old; Seth 912; Enosh 905; Cainan 910; Jared 962; Methuselah 969; Lamech 777; and Noah 950 years old. According to the Bible, “Pre-Flood” people lived apparently to great lengths of age and years, up to nearly 1,000 years old.

Post-Flood Lifespans:
After the Flood, Noah’s son, Shem, lives only up to 600 years old; Shelah 433 years; Eber 464 years; Peleg 239 years; Reu 239 years; Serug 230 years; Nahor 148 years; Terah 205 years; Abraham 175 years; Isaac 180 years; Jacob (Israel) 147 years; Joseph 110 years old; and Moses 120 years old. As we can see, the Pre-Flood people lived well into the 900’s, while the post-Flood people’s age began to exponentially drop from generation to generation. From immediately after the Flood in the 600’s to 400’s to 200’s and down to what we would typically consider now a possible regular, albeit long, human lifespan of 120 years.

God Intervenes to Limit Lifespans to 120 Years:
In looking back to Genesis 6, God is increasingly upset about the amount of wickedness spreading on the Earth. He says: “Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3) At this point before the Flood, as wickedness is spreading over the world, God decides to limit the lifespan of man down to 120 years. This is where we come to modern times age length with Joseph and Moses. David laments in the Psalms about even shorter ages: “The years of our life are threescore and ten [70], or even by reason of strength fourscore [80]; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10)

What Happened?:
It is all pure speculation, but it is interesting to ponder. Is it literal, allegorical, or a different measure of time? Most biblical scholars would argue that the ages are allegorical and not literal. Perhaps, their great longevity was meant to be symbolic of the wisdom and influence of the Patriarch. Others argue that they were measuring time by a different calendar, such as by months or lunar cycles. But, the ancients were very gifted for astronomy and measuring the cycles of the Sun and moon. This mathematical approach does not add up though with births and deaths and match family trees. For example, if Abraham was 175 months old that would mean he lived to be 14.

The Wages of Sin are Death:
We might consider that the Biblical texts are actually telling the Patriarchs actual age. We know that God created humans to live forever. Adam and Eve were in a preternatural condition where they would not die. However, God did warn Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil, or they would die (Gen. 2:17). They did not die immediately, but certainly over time their bodies began to wear down, and though they lived hundreds of years, they did eventually die. Their preternatural gift dissipated. That preternatural life then dissipated from generation to generation. The letter to the Romans says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Perhaps this is a theological truth that as sin increased, the lifespan of man decreased. Sin is life-destroying.  

Other Musings on the Flood:
First off, this is all pure speculation, but it is fun and interesting to think about.

Perhaps, the Flood created a devastating climatic change to the planet. Perhaps whatever cataclysmic occurrence happened it damaged a protective layer on the Earth’s atmosphere. Maybe after that point more damaging cosmic radiation made it into the atmosphere, which would damage and age humans on a molecular level; the cells and genetic material being damaged by more direct cosmic radiation. Who knows? Genesis does say about the Flood “on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Gen. 7:11) Maybe the opening of “the windows of the heavens” is alluding to the penetration now of damaging radiation, which could decay and age cells at a much more rapid pace. The cellular mutations would break down and eventually no longer be able to reproduce themselves; thus, more rapid aging and death.

God Intervenes Again in the Future World Renewed:
The prophet Isaiah wrote about the future world to come. He said: “No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.” (Is. 65:20) Apparently, in the future renewed world if someone does not live to be 100 years old, they would be considered cursed, and one who dies at 100 years old only the age of a child.

Genesis 24-36:

Jacob and Esau:
Jacob and Esau were twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. When Rebekah was pregnant with the twins they “jostled each other so much” that Rebekah consulted with the Lord “what good will it do me.” The Lord answered her:

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came forth red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand had taken hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. (Gen. 25:22-26)  

Special Blessing:
When Isaac was about to die he requested Esau, his firstborn son, to come to him so he could offer his deathbed “special blessing” upon him. Previously in Genesis it was only God who blessed humans, now humans can also bless other humans. As Esau goes out in the country to hunt for game to feed his father, Rebekah his mother calls to Jacob. She instructs Jacob to deceive Isaac by covering himself with hairy skins to make Isaac, with his failing eyesight, believe it was the hairy Esau and receive Isaac’s blessing rather than his brother. When Isaac feels the hairy coverings on Jacob, he is convinced it is his firstborn son, Esau, and offers his blessing upon him, that is, Jacob. This act of deception by Jacob and his mother is condemned in other places in the Bible (Hosea 12:4; Jer. 9:3).

Clothed in Christ:
However, there may be another point to the story too. It may be an allusion to the true Firstborn Son of God, Jesus Christ. We, as baptized-disciples of Christ, have, as Saint Paul tells us, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) or “clothed” ourselves with Christ (Gal. 3:27). We, in effect, are like Jacob. We are clothing ourselves with Christ in order to receive the blessing of God. God is giving us the blessing owed to the Firstborn Son. God does not look at our sins, but sees only His Firstborn Son in our stead, we who have put on Jesus Christ. Like Jacob, we receive the blessing of the Father that was due to the Firstborn Son alone.

No Intermarriage with Canaanites:
Esau lost his birthright and special blessing to Jacob. Some commentators have suggested that this was because Isaac and Rebekah disliked Esau’s Canaanite wives. Esau’s wives (a “Hittite” and a “Hivite”)“became a source of embitterment to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:35) Indeed, later Isaac charges Jacob “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman!” (Gen. 28:1) Later, “Esau realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac, so he went to Ishmael. . . married Mahalath.” (Gen. 28:8-9) Isaac, like his father before him Abraham, did not want their children, sons of the promise of God, to be led astray by a wife from outside the Covenant. There was to be no intermarriage to people outside of God’s people, the people of the Covenant. God sought to preserve His Covenantal people with a strict monotheism and morality by not coopting the idolatry of the pagans around them. It would also preserve the Abrahamic bloodline to the birth of the Messiah to come, Jesus.

This is made explicit in Exodus:
“Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.” (Exodus 34:11-16)

 and again in Deuteronomy:
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deut. 7:1-6)

The Curse of Canaan:
Part of the reason Abraham and Isaac forbid marrying Canaanites was that they were considered to be under the curse of Noah, as recorded earlier in Genesis when Ham, one of Noah’s three sons “saw his father’s nakedness.” (Gen. 9:22) Some commentators have theorized that there is more than meets the eye. Perhaps Ham had masturbated his inebriated father, or raped him, or even slept with Noah’s wife, his mother. These types of incestuous acts sometimes happened in the Old Testament in an interfamilial power struggle seen as a means to usurp the authority of the father. (see Jacob’s son Reuben or King David’s son Absalom). Or, in the case of incest with Lot’s daughter’s they perhaps did a similar thing of getting their father drunk and sleeping with him. As it reads, their two children produced the Moabites and the Ammonites:

Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.” (Gen. 19:36-38)

Regardless, Noah is clearly infuriated with whatever probable sexual act Ham committed against him, and so, he issues a curse upon Canaan, who is Ham’s favorite son:

So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants, He shall be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. “May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” (Gen. 9:25-27)

The curse Noah placed on Canaan, Ham’s son/Noah’s grandson, is filtered down to the descendants of Canaan:

Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.” (Gen. 10:15-20)

The Hebrews, and later, the Israelites are not to intermarry or intermingle in any way with the sons of the cursed, idol-worshipping Canaanites.

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman:
It is because of this, centuries later Jesus has an interesting interaction with a Canaanite woman. As read in Matthew:

“And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” (Mt. 15:21-28)

Jacob’s Dream / Jacob’s Ladder / Stairway to Heaven:
Jacob sets out from Beer-sheba for Haran in Paddan-Aram (Mesopotamia). On his way for this journey, he has a vision at Bethel (“House of God” he later calls it):

“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen. 28:12-15)

God renews his Covenantal promises to Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Jacob awakes from this amazing dream declaring this is “abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!” (Gen. 28:17) Jacob sets up a memorial stone there to mark the spot of his vision of God’s abode, and promises to give 1/10 of everything back to God.

Jacob, Laban, Rachel and Leah:
When Jacob finally arrived in Haran, he met Rachel at a well. He stayed in Haran with his uncle Laban. He agreed to serve him for seven years if he could marry his daughter Rachel. They agreed. However, when the seven years was up, Laban brought Leah to him to consummate the marriage. In the morning, after figuring out he was duped, Jacob demanded to know why. Laban agrees then for him to marry is elder daughter Rachel, but only after serving him for another seven years. Somewhat surprisingly, Jacob agrees again. It is Leah, however, who then births him four sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.

Jacob’s Children and the birth of Joseph:
Rachel, however, was still barren, so she provided her maidservant Bilhah as a consort for Jacob to birth him children. Bilhah then birthed him the sons, Dan and Naphtali. When Leah became barren, she too gave Jacob her maidservant Zilpah as a consort. Zilpah provided Jacob two sons as well, Gad and Asher. Jacob then had some more children to them: Issachar, Zebulum, and a daughter, Dinah. God finally heard Rachel’s prayer for a child, and then, she bore Jacob another son, Joseph. Eventually, with Jacob and Laban falling out of favor, Jacob gathered his wives and family and set out to return to Isaac and the land of Canaan.

Esau forgives Jacob:
Later, Jacob sees Esau coming towards him with 400 men. Jacob feared Esau’s revenge and bowed to the ground seven times before his brother. Esau, however, had forgiven him and wanted to be reconciled with him. “Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and flinging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept.” (Gen. 33:4) Jacob in return offers Esau generous gifts from his wealth, which Esau accepted. This is an on-going narrative through Genesis of family and sibling rivalry at first and reconciliation later. Genesis stories develop this theme of forgiveness.

Succoth / Booths:
As Jacob and Esau depart from each other, Jacob journeys to the town of Succoth. “There he built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the place was called Succoth.” (Gen. 33:17-18) Succoth would later become the place of the first encampment of the Israelites after fleeing Ramses and Egypt (Ex. 12:37). Esau for his part settled in Seir. “Esau is Edom. These are the descendants of Esau, ancestors of the Edomites.” (Gen. 36:8-9)

Jacob Wrestles an Angel / Changes Name to “Israel”:
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”  Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.  So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.  Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.” (Gen. 32:24-33)

Later, God confirms the Covenant with Jacob and his name change to Israel. With the Angel’s blessing on Jacob, he receives a new corresponding name, “Isra-El,” or he who prevails with God.” And so, God speaks to Israel:

“And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So his name was called Israel.  And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you.  The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” (Gen. 35:10-12)

Genesis 12-23:

Abram / Abraham:
The next section in Genesis begins with the calling of Abram (Abraham). “Whereas Yahweh had scattered humankind in all directions, now Yahweh calls someone to follow a particular path away from Babylon, the place of dispersion, to the land of Canaan.” There, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham to become a great nation.

Melchizedek:
Abram meets a mysterious figure called Melchizedek, who is both priest and king, who offers up “bread and wine.” (Gen. 14:18) He is referred to as the “king of Salem,” probably the precursor to Jerusalem. His title is the king of peace. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews refers to Melchizedek as a form, or prefigurement, of Jesus Christ. He is both priest and king, who offers bread and wine to God, and have their priesthood directly from God, and not from ancestors of Aaron or Levi. Hebrews declares Jesus is a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 7:17) This itself a quote from the Psalms, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 110:4) Jesus, who is priest and king, offers his body and blood up under the species of bread and wine at the Last Supper.

The Covenant:
Yahweh makes two promises to Abraham. “He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,’ he added, ‘shall your descendants be.’ Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” (Gen. 15:5-6) The Lord then requests Abram to bring him a three years old heifer, a three years old she-goat, a three years old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. He splits them in two and placed each half opposite the other. Abram then falls into a deep slumber (recalling the deep sleep God put on Adam when he made Eve from one of his ribs). Yahweh speaks to him in his sleep about the future history of Israel, and their future slavery and exodus from Egypt. Then, “there appeared a smoking brazier and a flaming torch, which passed between the pieces. It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I give this land. . .” (Gen. 15:17-18) The sign of the Abrahamic covenant is circumcision, just as the sign of the covenant with Noah is the rainbow. Every male shall be circumcised at eight days old, “Thus my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting pact.” (Gen. 17:13) Yahweh then tells Abram that he and his wife Sarah, although “ninety years old,” will bear a son and shall name him Isaac. The Abrahamic Covenant is the foundation for all Monotheism. This is the first definitive break in human history from polytheism and paganism.

The Three Visitors:
The next interaction I believe hints at the Trinity. It reads: “The Lord appeared to Abraham . . . Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.” (Gen. 18:1) The three visitors seem to speak together as “they.” When Abraham offered to make them some food, they respond “‘Very well,” they replied, ‘do as you have said.'” He bakes them “three seahs of fine flour” to make them bread, associating the bread with the Lord in Eucharistic overtones. Later in the passage, however, the Lord is distinguished as one of the people, while the other two are referred to as angelic messengers.

Sodom and Gommorah:
From there, they all walk towards the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord said “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.” (Gen. 18: 20-21) The two angelic beings keep walking toward the towns, but the Lord remained standing with Abraham telling him his intent to destroy the cities. Abraham then begins to intercede for the towns, “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?” (Gen. 18:23) Abraham pleads with him that there were “fifty innocent people” there, would you still destroy them? The Lord vows to spare them if he finds fifty people there, then Abraham continues to intercede for them. How about 45 people? 40? 30? 20? 10? The Lord responds, “For the sake of those ten,” he replied, “I will not destroy it.” (Gen. 18:32)

Lot, and Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed:
The two angelic messengers go to Sodom where they find Lot, who is Abraham’s nephew. Lot offers to bring them into his house and “bake cakes without leaven” (Gen. 19:3) for them, again, with overtones of a Eucharistic meal. Later, however, “all the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old – all the people to the last man – closed in on the house. They called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them.'” (Gen. 19:4-5) Lot protested against the “wicked thing” they were trying to do, and even offered up his two daughters to appease the mob, but they would have nothing of it.

At this point the two angelic beings intervene as “they struck the men at the entrance of the house, one and all, with such blinding light that they were utterly unable to reach the doorway.” (Gen. 19:11) The angels told Lot and his family to flee the city in the morning because the Lord was about to destroy it. As the sun was rising “the Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of heaven. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19: 24-26) The next morning Abraham went to look at the plain and saw “dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.”

Jesus referred to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah saying of those that reject the gospel, “Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Mt. 10:15) Saint Peter also refers to the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah and their subsequent destruction. He says “and if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes, making them an example for the godless people of what is coming.” (2 Pt. 2:6) Jude makes a similar statement saying that Sodom and Gomorrah were punished for their fornication and “indulged in unnatural lust,” or “went after other flesh.” (Jude 7) Clearly, one of the aspects of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah that cries out to heaven is the homosexual act. Modern apologists for homosexuality cite that the sins of the cities of the Plain were “rape” or even “inhospitality,” but this deflects from the truth. The Bible holds these two cities as the most extreme examples of inhospitality specifically because they sought to commit homosexual rape, and even the rape of angelic beings. The unnaturalness of these acts adds to their particular depravity.

The Birth of Isaac:
Yahweh fulfills his word towards Abraham and Sarah with the birth of Isaac. Abraham is 100 years old. Sarah remarks “God has given me cause to laugh.” (Gen. 21:6) Sarah, upset by the presence of the slave-girl Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who she bore to Abraham, forces them from their presence, saying “No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” (Gen. 21: 10) Many point to this initial division between Isaac and Ishmael for the current and ongoing disputes millennia later between their descendants, the Jews and Arabs respectively.

The Testing of Abraham:
God tests Abraham by telling him to “Take you son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” (Gen. 22:2) Abraham takes Isaac to the site, whereupon he “took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,” (Gen. 22:6) then he, “built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.” (Gen. 22:9-10) At this point, an angel from heaven stops Abraham from going through with it, but Abraham has proved his faithfulness to God. God says to him, “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” (Gen. 22: 12)

Isaac and Jesus:
The parallels between Isaac and Jesus are striking. The location where Abraham was to sacrifice his son was at Mount Moriah, the site in Jerusalem of the Temple. The pagans of the day had offered child sacrifices there to the fire god Molech. God shows in this episode that he is vehemently opposed to child sacrifice and this evil practice is to no longer be practiced. Child sacrifices to Molech have reemerged in our latter days in the present evils of abortion. Isaac prefigured Jesus. Isaac was to be sacrificed in the same location where Jesus offered up himself in the sacrifice of the Cross. Jesus is the only Son of God, with whom he loves. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17) Jesus walks the way of the Cross, also with beams of wood on his shoulders. He goes up Mount Moriah to Golgotha, where he would be fixed to the wooden beams of the Cross as a sacrifice – for all. As John wrote later in the gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16) God the Father, out of love for us, sacrifices his only begotten son – the very act with which he tested Abraham.

Genesis 1-11:

The Bible Overview:
The Hebrew Bible (the Torah, the prophets and the other books) is unique in the history of the world. It was the first book and religion to establish monotheism and a code of ethics around the world. It was divinely unique in a number of ways, with concepts unheard-of in the ancient world, and which transformed us into the modern world we know now and accept: (1) It proclaimed a universal God. (2) It posited an invisible, incorporeal God. (3) It declared a moral God, not capricious like the pagan gods and the deities of myth. (4) It presupposed a God outside of nature and beyond nature, unlike the pagan who worshipped nature and natural beings. (5) It suggested a God Who loves and wants to be loved, again unique from the selfish and capricious pagan gods. (6) It declared a universal human worth that all humans are “made in the image of God,” and therefore, of immense value and dignity. This was a world-changing concept never seen before in the history of the world. (7) Due to each individual human’s dignity, there are universal human rights that cannot be lawfully taken away by man.

All of the horrible atrocities and evil ideologies, such as human sacrifice, wanton disregard for human life, savage warfare, slavery, incest, idolatry, nature worship and superstition, all begin to fade away as the light of divine revelation is manifested to the world in successive revelations. God reached down from Heaven to guide us through the childhood and adolescence of human formation of conscience and morality. From the Garden to Eden, to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to Moses and the Ten Commandments, to the Israelites becoming God’s Jewish nation, to the Temple, and the prophets, and then, at long last, to the revelation of the Son of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God came into the world to undo the destructive power of Original Sin and free mankind to become Children of God. The Bible stands alone in revelation, in law, in prophecy, in internal coherence, and truth. It is the most widely read book and the most important book in the history of the world. It forever altered the arc of human history. It introduced earth-shattering ideas into the course of human civilization, and singularly prepared the world for that most important moment ever to happen, the Incarnation of the Son of God. The world has never been the same since.

Genesis 1-11:
The Creation of Man:
The Hebrew Bible is a conversation that lasted more than a millennium.   The Bible begins with two creation accounts or myths. This time period is “prehistory.” After creating all living things, which is “good,” then Yahweh creates man, which is termed “very good.” Adam is created from the ground (“adamah”). The only living thing not created from the ground is “woman.” Only in seeing woman, is man completed and in their complementarity does he fully understands himself. The man and the woman together bear the image of God. This is manifested in the pro-creative nature of the husband and wife, creating new life in likeness of their creator. The first man and woman were naked and not ashamed. They bore a primordial innocence, and preternatural life in the Garden of Eden (the original harmony of Creation).

Jesus Declares Two Genders – Male and Female; and Heterosexual Marriage:
Jesus, when he was challenged by the Pharisees on the teaching of marriage and divorce, referenced that it “was not so from the beginning.” Jesus taught a radical indissolubility of marriage between one man and one woman: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4-5)

The Fall:
That all changes with the Fall from innocence. The devil, mythologized as a serpent, tempts them to disobey Yahweh. Eve listens to the devil, and persuades her husband Adam to disobey as well. With that, humanity is brought into “the human condition” we know today: birthing pain, patriarchal societies, hard work toiling the land, disease and death.

Protoevangelium:
Yahweh then offers the first prophecy of a future Savior and “the woman” who will crush the head of the serpent. Eve fell to the serpent, but the second Eve will crush the serpent’s head. “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Gen. 3:15) It is through the Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ is born, God becomes man. With the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception, the stain of sin and the line of inherited corruption is broken. She alone is the Ark worthy of bearing God. In the woman, God the Son becomes flesh to take away the sins of the world.

Enoch:
In the generations from Adam to Noah, was Enoch. Genesis 5:12 reads: “Then Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, for God took him.” The implication, much like what happens later with the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), Enoch does not die, but is taken alive to heaven. Enoch and Elijah are perhaps the two great prophets sent back at the End of the World to confront the Antichrist. (Revelation 11)

Noah and The Flood:
Chapter 6 of Genesis also deals with the origin of the Nephilim (ie, the Giants). It says: “the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. . . At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.” This episode directly precedes the flood. The wickedness of man also leads Yahweh to limit man’s lifespan to 120 years (as opposed the hundreds of years lifespans previously, such as Adam who lived to 930 years old). Yahweh warns Noah that He is about to destroy the world because of its “corruption” and “lawlessness.” The Biblical account of the flood is similar to other flood stories from Mesopotamia, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh. Yet, the Biblical account is strikingly different in the way in which God preserves Noah, as opposed to the opposition of the deities in the Mesopotamian traditions.

Rainbow:
After God destroys most of the known world in the flood, he gives a sign of his promise never to do so again, the rainbow. The rainbow is the “sign of the everlasting covenant” God establishes between himself and all mortal creatures. Those who misuse the sign of the rainbow today again mock God with brazen disregard for his laws.

Sacramental View:
The waters of the Flood are analogous to the waters of Baptism. Just as the waters of Baptism wash away Original sin, so too did the waters of the Flood wash away the sinful world. Universal humanity (i.e., the world) seems to follow the path of Christian initiation. Just as the infant world is baptized in water, the later adolescent world is baptized in fire. At the End, the world is consumed and transformed by fire (2 Pt. 3:7), just as the fire of the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and all believers at Pentecost and Confirmation (Acts 2:3) making them a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This final conflagration ushers in a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).

Carnivores:
Another interesting note is that after the flood Yahweh tells Noah, “Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants.” (Gen. 9:3) The Antediluvian world is depicted as strict vegetarians. It is only after the flood, that animals, including man, become carnivorous. God grants a concession to humanity in its propensity towards violence, so that they are now allowed to eat meat (but must observe certain restrictions regarding the handling of animal blood. Gen.9: 2-4; Lev. 17:11)

The Tower of Babel:
The last story in this section is the Tower of Babel. “The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.” (Gen. 11:1) This story highlights human arrogance attempting to trespass into the realm of God. They do this by trying to build a tower that reaches up to God. In Babylonian times, this probably refers to the Babylonian ziggurats, a sort-of original skyscraper. It was then that the Lord came down to see what they built and decided to “go down and there confuse their language” and then he, “scattered them from there all over the earth.” (Gen 11:8-9)

New Blogging Feature – 29 January 2018

I have added a new link called the “Old Testament Blog Site.” I plan on doing more regular entries, not articles per se. I plan to begin this new addition to the website by blogging the books of the Old Testament. This will be good for me, and hopefully all involved, in re-familiarizing ourselves with the books of the Old Testament, as well as creating a more dynamic blogging interface. I plan on reading through Michael W. Duggan’s “The Consuming Fire: A Christian Guide to the Old Testament” as one of my guidelines among other resources. I should, God willing, post regular updates to the blog, in addition to continuing regular contributions to the Articles area.