Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #5 of Genesis, chapter 1 and I will read Genesis 1:1-5:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
I will stop reading there. Before we continue with this study in Genesis 1, verse 2, I want to mention a correction to something I said in a previous study. I said that Genesis 1, verse 1, and its reference to “heaven,” singular, was correct. That is not true. The Hebrew word that was translated as “heaven” is actually a plural word. More than that, I checked out many references in which this word was translated as “singular,” and everywhere I looked in the Old Testament, when this Hebrew word (Strong’s #8064) was translated as the singular word “heaven,” it is actually a plural word in the Hebrew text.
Let me give you an example. In Genesis 2:1, it says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” Here, the translators got it right and they translated the identical word that we see in Genesis 1, verse 1 as “heavens,” a plural word. So, Genesis 1, verse 1, should be translated, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” When we get to Genesis 1, verse 8, it should read, “And God called the firmament heavens.” It is something for us to keep in mind and I am going to make sure that I make the proper correction in my notes. Apparently, this is a very common error for the translators. We are never authorized to change a plural word to a singular word, or vice versa. That was the mistake the translators made in the Gospel of Matthew with the word for “sabbaths,” where they translated it as the singular word “sabbath,” but it should have been translated in the plural; if God dictates a plural word, it should be translated as a plural word.
This is something we should keep in mind. I want to thank the listener that brought this to my attention because it is important that we understand these words correctly.
Let us go on to Genesis 1:2:
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
We were looking at this in our last study and we saw that the two Hebrew words translated as “without form,” Strong’s #8414, and the word translated as “void,” Strong’s 922, are found together only three times. Actually, the word "void” is only found three times in the entire Old Testament and in each place it is found the other Hebrew word, Strong’s #8414, is in the context. God is tying the verses together and when we looked at them we found that Jeremiah 4, verse 23 is set in the context of judgment upon Judah, which in turn pointed to judgment on the churches at the time of the end. It also appeared in Isaiah 34, verse 11, which is set in the context of judgment on the world, so this is interesting and we wonder why God ties these three verses together. Why does God tie in the Great Tribulation with Genesis 1, verse 2, at the beginning of creation when all was without form and void? And why does God tie Judgment Day pictured in Isaiah 34, verse 11 with the beginning of creation? God is the one that ties these things together. It is not me or EBible.
By the way, some people have said, “Why do we not look at other topics? Why are we always talking about judgment on the churches and judgment on the world or about the end? Why do we not talk about other things?” But, we have done that, have we not, as we went through Genesis 1, verse 1 as we went through this verse? We were talking about creation. But, now, we have come to Genesis 1, verse 2 and we are looking up each word. This is what we are supposed to do. This is what any Bible reader or Bible student is supposed to do, but when we looked up the words translated as “without form” and “void,” where did it take us? Did it take us to passages that speak of God’s love and His wonderful plan for the child of God and good and happy things? No, it did not. We followed the methodology of comparing Scripture with Scripture and we were directed to Jeremiah 4 to a chapter where God is pointing out that His people know nothing and they were foolish and sottish children and His wrath was upon them. Then we were directed to the midst of another chapter in Isaiah 34, where He speaks of the heavens being dissolved and being rolled together as a scroll and where their host shall fall as a falling fig from the fig tree, and so forth. You see, it is fine for people to say, “Well, we want to talk about other things,” but we are in this position together when we study the Bible. What are we to do when the Bible guides us in this direction? Here we are, “just minding our own business,” so to speak, and we are just going along in a part of the Bible that you would think would have nothing to do with the end, but with the beginning (even though God does say He declares the end from the beginning). So, we were looking at creation and that is an acceptable topic with the churches and others – nobody gets upset if you talk about creation. But, as we were doing so, it did not take long at all for us to see that the words translated as “without form” and as “void” were only found here and also in Jeremiah 4 and Isaiah 34. Are we to ignore this? What are we to do? It was the Bible’s leading and direction that took us into a discussion of end time matters. If we are going to be honest students of the Bible, we have to go to where the Bible leads us.
So, let us go to Isaiah 34, where it said in verse 4,“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved.” Then it goes on to say in Isaiah 34:8-11:
For it is the day of JEHOVAH’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
Here, we have these “unclean birds” mentioned. There are four of them, which points to the universal nature of the judgment that is in view. God has made the world waste and He accomplished that the moment the Holy Spirit departed in regard to salvation. Then it said, “and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.” As we mentioned last time, the word “confusion” is Strong’s #8414, the Hebrew word translated as “without form” and the word translated as “emptiness” is Strong’s #922 and it is the same word translated as “void” in Genesis 1, verse 2. Therefore, this verse could read, “and he shall stretch out upon it the line ‘without form’ and the stones ‘void.’” Why is God speaking of stretching out a line upon the earth? Remember who God is speaking to, as it said in the first couple of verses, “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear,” and that also relates to Genesis 1, verse 2, where it says that the earth was “without form.” Here, God is stretching a line upon the earth, a line that is “without form” and stones that are “void.”
When we look up the word “stones,” we find that this word is related to the weight of a “bag” or to a
Let us also look at that word “line,” where it is used when it speaks of the “line of confusion.” Let us look at a few places where the word “line” is used, starting with Job, chapter 38 which is in the setting of creation. It says in Job 38:1-2:
Then JEHOVAH answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Here, God could be speaking to the modern scientific thought that claims to know how the universe began with a big bang and how man began through evolution billions of years ago. They are really darkening counsel by words without understanding. They are not only millions of miles away from the truth, but billions of miles away from truth. They are speaking foolishly and foolish people speak “words without knowledge.” It goes on to say in Job 38:3-4:
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Again, God could be speaking this to any human being, even human beings of long ago.Where were you when He laid the foundations of the earth? Where was man when God spoke and created the heavens and the earth? We did not exist. It was only God in the beginning and His wisdom and His knowledge that created all things. Man had nothing to do with it and man can know nothing about it of ourselves and God is pointing out that fact.
It says in John 38:5:
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Here is that idea of stretching a line upon creation. Who has stretched a line upon it and measured it, in a sense? Who has knowledge concerning its dimension? Even today with great telescopes and even with the spacecraft that are sent to distant planets with telescopes that can look even further out, man cannot measure the universe. He does not know where it ends. Wherever we look it just gets deeper and deeper and no one can measure these things except God.
It says in Psalm 19:1:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Then it says in Psalm 19:4:
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
This is interesting, is it not? God has created the entire heavens and all the stars and He stretched it forth as a tent, as we read in Isaiah, chapter 40. He stretched it out as a curtain and as a tent to dwell in. Here, God says He set them as a "tabernacle for the sun,” and a tabernacle is a tent. He placed them for the “sun” and the sun is a picture of God. It is as if the entire expanse of this great universe out there is nothing more than a tent for God to dwell in and the sun that is set in the heavens above is a picture of God dwelling in His tent. And there also are all the stars. God says of the new heaven and new earth that He will dwell with His people, which He likens to the stars of the heavens.
In Isaiah, chapter 28 God directly relates this word “line” to the Word of God, as it says in Isaiah 28:9-10:
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
This is speaking of the Word of God and the statutes and precepts of the Bible. Then it says in Isaiah 28:17:
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet…
Judgment is laid to the “line.” This is how we learn about God’s judgment through the Scriptures, line upon line, as He reveals that He has brought judgment on the churches and congregations after almost 2,000 years. And, line upon line, God reveals that He brought judgment upon the world on May 21, 2011, exactly 7,000 years from the flood.
Let us also look at Lamentations 2:8:
JEHOVAH hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion…
In this context, the “daughter of Zion” is a reference to the corporate church and the “wall” is the wall they built without a proper foundation. They did not use the proper mortar, spiritually, and it is not the “wall of salvation” God has built, as it is pictured in Nehemiah. God purposed to destroy the wall of the “daughter of Zion” and it goes on to say in Lamentations 2:8:
…he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
Again, judgment is laid to the line and God is destroying the wall of Zion, which He has done in our time as He destroyed salvation within the churches – their wall is complete rubble; it is gone. God’s elect realized that because JEHOVAH laid the line of judgment to it.
Let us also take a look at 2Kings and I think this will help us in understanding Isaiah 34. It says in 2Kings 21:10-13:
And JEHOVAH spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
Notice the first part of 2Kings 21, verse 13, where it says, “And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab.” What is God saying? He is speaking of bringing judgment upon Judah, but He has already brought judgment on Samaria, which is Israel to the North. He judged them through the Assyrians and now He is going to judge Judah by the Babylonians. However, He is making reference to stretching “the line of Samaria” over Jerusalem and this means He is going to bring a similar judgment upon Judah to that which He brought on Samaria. If we take that idea and we go back to Isaiah 34, verse 11, where God said He would stretch out upon the earth the line which is “without form” and the stones of “void,” we see that God in His wrath and judgment has returned the earth to its former condition that was in view at the very beginning when God first created it. That was a time when the substance was there, but it was a time of darkness, as we read in Genesis 1, verse 2. It was a time when the waters were not yet separated. God had not separated the waters above from the waters below and He had not corralled the waters into the seas and set their bounds which they could not pass. The waters were everywhere and the darkness was everywhere in the beginning when God first made the earth. That is what He is doing here.
Let me say it another way: God’s judgment upon sin in the day of His wrath has placed the world in the position of its original creation. We can see that through the language of “without form” and “void” and God is the one that tied Genesis 1, verse 2, with these two other verses regarding judgment upon the churches and then judgment upon the world. But why does God do this? Why does He speak of Judgment Day as a time of restoration to the original creation? Well, we ask the question: “What follows Judgment Day?” The answer is that it is the new creation of the new heavens and new earth. The answer is that God places the world back in a position to be “operated upon” and, historically, God had worked with the substance in the six days of creation. In Judgment Day, God has restored the world to its original form in order to operate upon it for an as yet unspecified period of time in preparation to creating the new heavens and new earth.