Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #14 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read Genesis 1:11-13:
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.
In our last study we spent some time looking up the words “grass” and “herb.” We will do the same thing with “fruit tree” and “seed.” We will spend some time on that word “seed” because it is a very important Word in the Bible. Every word is important but “seed” is a word that has special instruction for us as we learn about God’s salvation program. What we see is that even in the beginning of creation as God is bringing forth the vegetation, He is picturing His Gospel program. We saw this when we looked up the word “grass” and the word “herb.” When we went to Deuteronomy 32, God said, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.”
We also saw how the Latter Rain is mentioned in a few places in conjunction with the “grass” and it is all a picture of God’s program of salvation and evangelization to save His people.
Let us just remind ourselves how God typifies His Gospel program using the illustration of planting seeds and of growing wheat, and so forth. Let us go to Matthew 13:24-30:
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Then along with the explanation of that parable, it says in Matthew 24:36-39:
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Christ spoke a parable about the field, sowing seed and how both wheat and tares come forth and it all represents something. It is a picture or type and figure of spiritual truth regarding God’s salvation program. Someone might say, “Well, yes, but that is a parable and that is why it has another meaning, but it is different when you read another part of the Bible that is not a parable.” But, is that true? No, it is not true because God expects the reader of the Bible to look for a deeper spiritual meaning. When Christ spoke in parables He was instructing us on how to understand the entire Bible. He is the Word made flesh. Christ spoke in parables and without a parable He did not speak, so that is how we have to approach the Bible. We must look for the spiritual or parabolic meaning.
Let us go back to the Old Testament and look at Isaiah 5:1-7:
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of JEHOVAH of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
This is the Old Testament, but God did not introduce it by saying, “Hear a parable,” but He described Judah as a “vineyard” that brought forth wild grapes or stinking grapes. What did God do? He destroyed that vineyard. Of course, in the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ spoke other parables concerning a vineyard. There is the parable in Matthew, chapter 21 that is very similar to Isaiah, chapter 5, but it is different in some respects. It says in Matthew 21:33-41:
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
This is similar to Isaiah, chapter 5, but it is different in that the vineyard is not destroyed. He destroyed the wicked men but He turned the vineyard over to other husbandmen that would render Him the fruits in their seasons. In Matthew 21 Christ is speaking a parable against national Israel of His plan to destroy them and to give their vineyard to other caretakers or husbandmen, the New Testament churches and congregations. In Isaiah, chapter 5 the vineyard is destroyed and the deeper parabolic meaning is God’s plan to destroy the corporate church that took over the vineyard after Israel had killed the husbandman’s son; they did not reverence Him, but they killed Him because that is what they did to Christ. Yet, in Isaiah, chapter 5, there is no mention of a son being killed or of turning over the vineyard to others because Isaiah 5 pictures the corporate church that God destroyed at the end of the church age on May 21, 1988.Again, I read from Matthew 21 and from Isaiah 5 and I read from Matthew 13 and its parable of sowing seed. We could have read earlier in Matthew, chapter 13 where God likens the sending forth of His Word to sowing seed upon various types of ground, as the Word falls upon the hearts of men. They are all pictures and types and figures.
Also, the Lord Jesus says in John 15:1-3-8:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
We see in this passage how Jesus is the “true vine” and the Father is the husbandman. Then He likens His people to branches. There are those that abide in Him and there are those that do not and the latter are like withered branches.
This is the language of the Bible and this is how we must read the Scriptures. We have to take all these things into account:
Look at what it says in James 5:7:
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Who is the husbandman? According to John 15, it is God the Father. This verse fits perfectly. God was waiting for the “precious fruit” and when we examine the identity of the precious fruit, it points to the elect. God patiently waited for the fruit until the early and latter rain fell because the rains produce the crop. In the world God established in His creation the order of things and in His “seasons” there was the early rain and the latter rain in which God’s doctrine fell as the dew and as the small rain upon the tender grass.
In another Old Testament Book that is not declared outright to be a parable, it says Isaiah 55:10:
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:Who is the sower? It is the Son of man. The “rain” gives seed to the Son of man. Christ is the sower and the Son of man. Then it goes on to say that God’s word is like the rain in Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
God’s word is like the rain and as the rain falls and waters the earth and causes it to bring forth and bud, it brings “seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.” Christ is the seed (singular), but we are in Him and the rain gives seed to Christ. The Word of God, typified by the rain, gives seed (the elect) to the sower, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is there any other way to read and study the Bible? Yes, there are numerous ways, are there not? There are all kinds of books on hermeneutics and theologians have many theories or ways to come to what they believe is truth from the Bible. How can a theologian or pastor or teacher of the Bible come to the Bible and read the historical account and analyze the grammar and look for the moral application, but leave out the spiritual meaning? For instance, when you read in Genesis 1, “And God said,” it is the Word of God and God says His Word is like the rain. So when 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,” how can any serious student of the Bible not search these words to see how they lead us to the Gospel? The grass, the herbs, the seed and the fruit all lead us to the Gospel. It does not matter which word you pick, they all lead us to Scriptures where God speaks of the rain, the early and latter rain and the fruit that comes forth from it. If you are thorough enough to check the New Testament, you have all the parables of Jesus that are full of analogies to vineyards and to sowing and it is all tied into the Gospel. This is one of the easier things for anyone to see because Jesus would explain in His parable the definitions. For example, He would say, “The kingdom of heaven is like,” and He would explain the spiritual application.
This is why there is such an awful famine of hearing. Even before God ended the church age, there were already many churches that were “dead” because they just taught the plain, literal meaning or the natural things of the Bible as if they were teaching an English course from a textbook and they just teach what appears on the pages and, yet, the Bible is so far above the books of men and it is full of depths of wisdom and buried treasure that must be searched and dug into with “pick ax and shovel.” We have to study the Bible, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and we can find enormous treasures that open up as God teaches us His Gospel program.
Now, sometimes, we may not be able to find the deeper meaning and that is okay because we are very limited creatures. We are finite and we have small minds. Something can be right before our eyes and we do not see it and all we can do is recognize that and say, “I just do not understand that verse, but I will continue to study and pray for wisdom and we move on to another verse.” Of course, we want to hold onto the option to go back to that verse.
We will stop here for today. It is a good thing to look at the growing season as God speaks of it in the Bible. It is a very widespread teaching in all Scriptures from the beginning to the end as God speaks of His salvation program in association with “times and seasons” and harvest.