Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #11 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read Genesis 1:9-13:
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
I will stop reading there. We are presently looking at Genesis 1:9:
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
The word “God” is “el-o-heem,” which is a plural word for God. However, the King James translators did translate this correctly because this is the exception to the rule that when we see a plural word it should be translated as a plural word. For example, we know that the word “heaven”should have been translated as “heavens,” but, in this case, they translated “el-o-heem” as singular and the reason is that God emphasizes throughout the Bible that He is one God; so this is one area where the translators were restrained by God. Of course, God is in control of all things and He often worked through the translators and, in this case, He worked through them to translate this word as “singular” rather than “plural.” It would have led to much confusion if they had said, “In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth.”
Again, it says in Genesis 1:9:
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place…
We are going to look at the words in this verse and I think we will find some interesting things as we do this. Sometimes it is a question of what words we should look at first. We could look at them in the order that they appear and I suppose we will do it that way.
Let us start with the word “waters.” This word can be a picture of the Gospel in the Bible. It can also be a picture of “hell.” For instance, when Pharaoh and the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea it was a picture of being under the wrath of God. Also, when God brought the flood of Noah’s day upon the world, the waters were a picture of His wrath, so the waters can picture the Gospel or the Word of God or it could represent the judgment of God.
The word “waters” can also represent people. For instance, it says in Isaiah 57:20:
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
Here God connects the wicked to the waters of a troubled sea. In a chapter where the language speaks of the flocks of Kedar and the sons of Ishmael being gathered unto Him (and a reason why we believe that God intended to eventually save a great number of the sons of Ishmael), it says in Isaiah 60:5:
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
Notice how God first says, “the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee,” and then He restates it by saying, “the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” The Gentiles are the nations. It is speaking of the great multitude. The “abundance of the sea” typifies people that will come to God and then it goes on to discuss the flocks of Kedar and the rams of Nabaioth. We can see God directly define “waters” as people in the New Testament in Revelation 17:1:
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
he great whore sits or “rules” upon many waters or the sea, or as the Bible says, “The wicked are like the troubled sea.” The “great whore” is Babylon, the kingdom of Satan that ruled over the unsaved of the world. We see that we are correct in that understanding when we look at Revelation 17:15:
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
There are “four” references which points to the universal aspect or worldwide nature of what is in view. It has to do with the peoples of all the earth. They are the “waters” that the whore sitteth upon or that Satan and his kingdom ruled over when he won the right of conquest over mankind in the Garden of Eden and, especially, his rule at the end during the Great Tribulation when God gave him rule over the unsaved peoples of the world.
Back in Genesis 1, verse 9, there is an historical aspect to this because God did separate the waters from the waters with the heavens and He placed waters above this firmament and He left waters below the firmament on the earth. Before that point, it would at that point been a similar picture to the flood of Noah’s day because God had not gathered the waters under the heavens unto one place. Historically, God made the waters and water is a necessity for life and God started with the waters and the “face of the deep” was upon the earth on the first day of creation. Now we are looking at the third day and God is still dealing with the waters.
But, now God says of the waters under the heavens, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place.” As we look up the words and, by the way, I would suggest that we all use a concordance when we are studying the Bible because it causes us to be much more careful. Rather than reading the Bible like any other book, we take the time to look up the primary words in the verse and we search it out to find out where the words are used elsewhere in the Bible. First of all, it is going to help you in your understanding of the verse you are looking at, but it also causes you to slow down and to consider the verse and chapter in front of you rather than rushing through it. Some people say, “I want to read five chapters a day,” so they open their Bible and they read a couple of Psalms and a couple of chapters for five or 10 minutes and then they pray for five or 10 minutes and then they go about their day. They are really not putting that much time into Bible reading or praying and they are really not putting any time into Bible study. Bible study is a slower and more careful process. If you do not have a concordance, please look into getting one. You can get one online or at a Christian book store. Strong’s Concordance will have every word that is in the Bible and you can look each one up.
This Hebrew word translated as “gathered together” is Strong’s #6960. Oftentimes, when you look up a word God is using, there will be surprises, but I tell you when I looked up this word I was very surprised at how God uses this particular Hebrew word. I kept thinking, Why did God use this word in Genesis, chapter 1? It is a very unusual choice of words in this context, historically, as He is speaking of gathering together the waters under the heavens into one place – there are several other words that are translated as “gathered” that would be a better choice. But we are not the writers of the Bible and no man has the wisdom to be the author of the Bible and God chooses every word very carefully and purposefully; every word has meaning. God is not like us as we say words just to hear ourselves talk and sometimes we do not even think about what we are saying, but God is very precise and calculating and He uses every word in a very purposeful manner. Can you imagine writing a book as big as the Bible and having every word fit perfectly with every other word in the entire book in order that there is not a chapter, verse or word that does not fit with everything else in it? If we wrote a book, we would have all kinds of errors and things that do not fit and that is one of the ways we can tell that other religious writings are not from God, like the Apocryphal writings, because they make statements that do not fit with other things in the Bible. However, there is always harmony with God’s Word, even though we may struggle to see how it does fit. That is our challenge and it is our honor to search out the matter. That is what God intends for His people to do.
So let us look at this word translated as “gathered together,” which is Strong’s #6960. It is only translated one other time as “gathered” and it is found in Jeremiah 3:16-17:
And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith JEHOVAH, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of JEHOVAH: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of JEHOVAH; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of JEHOVAH, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Here in verse 17 all the nations are “gathered” unto it, to the name of JEHOVAH, to Jerusalem. But this word is translated as other English words. For instance, it is translated one time as “patiently.” It is also translated one time as “tarrieth.” It is translated 14 times as “look” or “looketh” and 30 times as “wait” or “waiteth.” When you look at these other words, they are all of a similar nature. When it is translated as “look,” you could have translated it as “wait” in those places; when someone is “looking” for the Lord, they are “waiting” for the Lord. It is the word in the English King James that is found several times in the Psalms, like Psalm 130:5:
I wait for JEHOVAH, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
The word “wait” is our word that was translated as “gathered together” in our verse in Genesis, chapter 1.
It also says in Psalm 27:14:
Wait on JEHOVAH: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on JEHOVAH.
That is why I was so surprised at how this Hebrew word was translated in Genesis because as I looked at all these places it was talking about waiting or waiting patiently, as it says Psalm 40:1:
I waited patiently for JEHOVAH; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
As I looked at verse after verse where this word was used, I was “scratching my head” and wondering why God used this word in the context of Genesis 1:9:
Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place…
And, again, we know that “waters” can be translated as “peoples.” What if we did not translate it as “gathered together,” since this Hebrew word is normally translated as “waited”? What if we translated it this way: “Let the waters under heaven wait unto one place?” It is still rather the idea of gathering something together, but when we think of “gathering together,” we think of having our arms stretched out and bringing something toward us and gathering it in to one place. However, the idea of “waiting” does not really convey that kind of thought, but let us just use that for now: “Let the waters under heaven wait unto one place.” Now what is this “one place” the waters are to wait? Obviously, we could think that God is just creating the ocean and He caused the waters to come together and then the dry land appeared. The waters were spread out over the entire earth and God gathered them and as He gathered them to one place, “dry land” appeared where the waters used to be. Historically, that was what happened. God is bringing together the waters, collectively, into a certain area and it is exposing the dry land or earth where the waters had previously been. But, what would “one place” mean, spiritually? We search the Bible to see if God uses that term anywhere else and He does. It says in Ecclesiastes 3:19:
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
In these verses God is speaking of death. Man dies like a beast and all go to “one place,” which is the grave or death. That is why He says that they are of the dust and go to dust again. There is no mistaking that this “one place” is referring to death. We also found the words “one place” used together to speak of man, in Ecclesiastes 6:6:
Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?
Eventually, no matter how long you live, you go to “one place.” You go to the grave and return to dust. It is not very long at all if your lifespan is temporal – it still has an end. No matter how long you may live in comparison to others, it is nothing when we compare it to eternity. In Ecclesiastes 6, verse 6, the “one place” is referring to “death,” so how are we to understand our verse in Genesis 1, verse 9, where God says, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place,” or that they are to “wait” unto one place? We can see how “waters” can be people, according to the Bible, and they could be people “waiting” unto “one place,” which identifies with death. What are they waiting for? The next part of our verse says, in Genesis 1:9:
… and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
The word “dry” is Strong’s #3004 and this word is used 14 times in the Old Testament. It is used twice in Genesis, chapter 9, in verses 9 and 10, as God is creating the earth and the dry land is appearing, but this is also a word that is used several times in regard to the parting of the Red Sea when Israel crossed over on “dry land.” God made a pathway and they passed over on dry land to safety and they were delivered from Pharaoh and the Egyptian army that was pursuing them. God delivered them by the “dry land.”
This word is also used in regard to the crossing of the Jordan on dry land and this is also a picture of deliverance and salvation. This word is also used concerning Jonah when he was vomited out of the whale’s belly onto dry land. This was an historical parable that illustrated Christ coming out of the depths of the grave (death) and rising from the dead to life. In all these usages of the word “dry land,” it points to deliverance, salvation and life.