Genesis 8 Series, Part 28, Verses 21-22

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 28:39 Size: 6.6 MB
  • Passages covered: Genesis 8:21-22, Genesis 9:11, Mark 13:24, Luke 21:25,28.

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Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #28 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are looking at Genesis 8:21-22:

And JEHOVAH smelled a sweet savour; and JEHOVAH said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

I will stop reading there. Once again, after Noah built the altar he took of every clean beast and fowl and offered them on the altar. Then it said, “And JEHOVAH smelled a sweet savour,” and this means it was an acceptable sacrifice. Therefore, it has to be the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that was in view and that acceptable sacrifice was performed at the foundation of the world.

As they are coming out of the ark, we see it was a perfect time to demonstrate that the “foundation” for the new heaven and new earth to come is identical to the foundation of our present world. God has created the world for the purpose of bringing His elect people into it and He will live with them forever and ever and it is all built upon the foundation of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We also saw language in verse 21 that points to the new earth. For instance, after it said that JEHOVAH smelled a sweet savour, it said, “and JEHOVAH said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.” After Adam and Eve fell into sin shortly after the creation, God cursed the ground and that was a curse upon the entire creation and that curse will not be removed until this world is destroyed and the new world comes into being. By saying, “I will not again curse the ground,” the Lord is recognizing that He did once curse the ground. In our last study, we went to Revelation 22 and we saw that God says of the new heaven and new earth that there will be “no more curse,” so the language in our verse fits the context of the transition from this world to the next.

Then it goes on to say in Genesis 8:21:

… I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

God did smite every living thing with the breath of life except for the occupants of the ark. If we understand that God is saying that He will not smite everything again like He did in the flood, then why would there be an allowance for God smiting everything at the end of the world? Do you see how awkward that statement is in regard to the rest of the Bible? The Bible certainly does declare that God will smite every living thing at the end of the world and He will destroy the wicked, along with the creation. When He destroys this creation, He will be destroying the animals, the insects and all the creatures.

The way God is directing us to understand this is to realize that the flood is a type and figure of the destruction of the cursed creation of this world at the end. The coming out of the ark after the flood is truly picturing the new heaven and new earth. God is never again cursing the ground or smiting any living thing fits perfectly with the language in Revelation 21 and Revelation 22 in regard to the new world, so we are directed into that understanding by this language.

But how does it fit historically? Historically, this is over seven thousand years ago so that means there was much history to unfold after the flood and until the time of the end of the world, so God does answer the question about how He can use this type of language, in Genesis 9:11:

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

With this statement, God is conditioning what He told us in Genesis 8, verse 21. When we read these statements historically in the light of Genesis 9, verse 11, when God says He will not smite any more everything living as He had done He means smiting by a “flood.” Now we can understand this verse because God has given us more information to help us understand how it can be that He will later destroy everything at the end of the world. The significant thing is that God did not tell us in Genesis 8:21 that He would not again curse the ground with a flood, nor did He say that He would not again smite any more every living thing with a flood. He left out the word “flood” because of the spiritual context that He orchestrated in the chapter regarding the picture He was presenting as they came out of the ark onto dry land. So, we do have a spiritual picture that is very clear in Genesis 8, verse 21, but the statements are also historically correct when viewed in the light of the next chapter where we see it conditioned in regard to the flood.

Let us go on to Genesis 8:22:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

First of all, we can look at this verse practically and literally. It is declaring a truth that God will have the world operating as usual in its typical cycle of things like the movement of the sun, moon and stars, and so forth. By the way, this helps us to understand something we read Mark 13:24-25:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

In this passage we are told that these things are happening “in those days, after that tribulation,” and that would be the period of Judgment Day. We are told that the sun is darkened and the moon will not give its light, and so forth. If the sun is darkened, there would not be “day and night” as usual, as has happened throughout time because the sun, moon and stars are the celestial clock that governs time. When God created them He created them for “times and seasons,” so if the sun is darkened we would not have day and night with seven-day weeks, or the lunar month of 29.530 days, or the year of 365.2422 days. Everything would be upset and disturbed, as far as time is concerned. There cannot be an accurate track of time without the movement of the celestial clock that was created in the beginning. It has been a precise time instrument that has operated throughout history. I am going to read this again, so let us listen carefully to what it says in Mark 13:24:

But in those days…

First of all, this speaks of “days” and days are a time reference, but you cannot have days without the sun, moon and stars. So when we read, “But in those days, after that tribulation,” we know that Matthew, chapter 24 tells us it is “immediately” after the Tribulation. Again, it says in Mark 13:24-25:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

Literally, it is an impossibility that there could be a continuation of “days” in which the sun is darkened or the moon did not give its light or the stars fell. If any of that happened, it would be the end of the world and it would not occur over the course of days, but it would be very quick. We could not keep track of “time” in order to count days if these things literally happened. Genesis 8 tells us, “While the earth remaineth,” and the literal text reads, “While all days of the earth.” The word “remaineth” is implied, but it does point to the complete history of mankind’s days of living in this world. Again, it says in Genesis 8:22:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

That last pairing of “day and night” tells us that we must understand Mark 13 or Matthew 24 spiritually, not literally. For instance, let us say that tomorrow is the end of the Great Tribulation (which it is not because that happened on May 21, 2011), but let us just say that it ends tomorrow. Time has continued as “day and night” through today, but tomorrow is the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of Judgment Day and then Mark 13, verse 24 takes effect because it says, “in those days after that tribulation,” and then there is a period of time that begins to activate. So tomorrow the sun is literally darkened and the moon literally does not give its light and the stars begin to fall. (By the way, Revelation 6 tells us that the stars fall to the earth and we all know what would happen if even one star fell to earth. We would burn up in a minute.) So, again, tomorrow the sun is dark, the moon is not giving its light and the stars fall and there is no literally no more light. We are told it is going to go on for a matter of some unspecified “days” because it said, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened.” So, how can it say in Genesis 8, verse 22 that day and night shall not cease? Would not “day and night” have ceased if the sun is darkened and the moon does not give its light and the stars fell? There would be only darkness and there would be no light. The distinction between day and night is caused by the sun. It is dark during the night and then the sun comes up in the morning and it is day. We have daylight for a period of time and then the sun sets and it is night again. If you had a windup watch and these things were happening, 10 o’clock in the morning could not be distinguished from 10 o’clock at night and the hours on our watch may appear to be passing, but the morning is identical to the night because the sun has been darkened, so there is no more keeping track of time. This means the Bible will not permit us to understand this darkening of the sun and moon or the falling of the stars after the Tribulation as a literal or physical occurrence. It is not only Mark 13 that does not allow it, but neither does the parallel passage in Luke 21 which also speaks of the end of the Tribulation. It says in Luke 21:25:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

If the sun was literally darkened and the moon was actually not giving her light, is that a “sign” of the end of the world, or is that the end of the world itself? Of course, it would be the end of the world if these things happened. No one would take that as a sign, but it would be the reality that the end of the world has come. However, the Bible tells us that God will not give any outward visible signs. The Jews looked for a sign, but Christ said, “And there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.” In order to understand the “sign” Christ says is permissible, where do you go to learn about the sign of Jonas? Can you go to Nineveh? Could a Jew have gone to Nineveh to see the sign of the prophet Jonas? The events that happened to Jonah happened hundreds of years earlier. Where on earth could a Jew go to see it? Could he look up into the heavens? No, he could not have seen that sign anywhere, except in the Word of God, the Bible. That is the only place we can read about Jonah and his experience of fleeing to Tarshish and being cast out of the merchant ship, swallowed by the great fish and vomited out on dry land.

You need to read the Bible in order to “see” the sign and that is the case with the “signs” in the sun, moon and stars. We must get it in our minds that it has nothing to do with the physical sun up in the sky. It is what the sun represents and what God created the sun to illustrate, which is Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. So when we see the “sun” in the Bible we see it spiritually because God has opened up this information in the Bible to reveal it to His people. When we see that the sun is “dark,” we know the Light of the world has been put out. When we see that the moon does not give its light, it identifies with the Law of God, the Bible. Not only is Christ the Light of the world, but the Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” The Bible is a light. So when we “see” the major light (the Lord Jesus) and the lesser light (the Word of God) go out, then we know that we are seeing the “signs” and they are acceptable and permissible signs concerning the end of the world. These are the signs that will be in evidence after the Tribulation for “days,” as it says, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened,” and so forth.

Now we have harmony with the whole Bible. We are not looking at a literal darkening of the sun or a literal moon that is not giving her light. We are looking at it spiritually and we understand it spiritually, so all the while the spiritual lights of the Gospel are out the literal and physical celestial bodies in the heavens continue to function and time continues during this prolonged period of Judgment Day. It is a time of the wrath of God and intense spiritual darkness, but when we wake up in the morning the physical sun is still shining, just as it has always done. Then the sun sets and it gets dark until the next day and the 24-hour cycles continue throughout the entire duration of Judgment Day, however long that may be. We are seeing much evidence that it may be in 2033, but we do not want to say that is absolute (as yet) because we are continuing to look into it. And, yet, one thing is absolute and certain: the signs are in place. It goes on to say in Luke 21:28:

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

We can have a very strong confidence in knowing that we have progressed from the church age and through the two-part Great Tribulation and we have progressed into Judgment Day and to the time referred to as “those days after that tribulation,” in which the light of the Gospel has gone out all over the world. That fact matches perfectly with the language of the Bible. So, we are continuing on this journey during this grievous time. It is not an easy journey. It is extremely difficult, but we are on the right course and we have the “signs.” Interesting enough, it is not a sign that lightens our path, but it is a sign involving darkness as we look up into the spiritual heaven. The Word of God is the one that put the lights in the heavens and it is the Word of God that has put the lights out. As we see the “thick darkness” that has overtaken the world and we see mankind lose sight of basic morality in regard to aborting babies and selling their body parts and of men marrying men and women marrying women and everyone saying what a great thing that is, it makes the “signs” that much more of an indicator that the end is at hand.