Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #15 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read Genesis 1:11-18:
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.
We have been discussing these verses and we saw how God identifies His Gospel program in the likeness of sending forth rain that produces herbs, green grass, fruits and seeds and how this typifies God’s salvation program because the elect are likened to the precious fruit of the earth, and so forth.
I just want to look at the word “seed” before we move on. This Hebrew word is Strong’s #2233 and this word is used here to speak of plants, but it is largely used to describe the seed that points to Christ and to the elect. For instance, it says in Genesis 3:15:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The “seed” of the woman is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.
God also says, in Genesis 16:10:
And the angel of JEHVOAH said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
It also says in Genesis 17:7-8-10:
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
In the New Testament in the Book of Galatians, God makes sure to point out that He is not speaking of “seeds” (plural) but “seeds” (singular). It says in Galatians 3:16:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
This is an important thing to keep in mind whenever we see the word “seeds.” It could be referring to Christ Himself, but God also says in Galatians 3:29:
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The ones that Christ saved are in Christ and they belong to Christ and, therefore, they are also counted as the “seeds.” The seed is Jesus but it also relates to the body of Christ, the entire company of the elect that were redeemed by Christ and granted salvation.
Let us look at just a couple more verses. It says in Deuteronomy 30:6:
And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love JEHOVAH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Of course, this is not literal, but the circumcision of the heart is pointing to salvation.
Let us look at one more verse in Psalm 25:13:
His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
The seed is Christ and the seed are the elect in Christ that shall inherit the earth. It is everyone God predestinated to become saved from before the foundation of the world. They are the “seeds.” It is God and His Word that declared, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,” and this “seeds” points to the fruit of His Gospel program.
Let us move on in our study to Genesis 1:14-18:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Again, in verse 14 God said, “Let there be lights,” but back in verse 3 God said, “Let there be light.” That was back on the first day, but now on the fourth day God is creating the celestial bodies that will be the light bearers and from this point He will “attach” the light He has already created to the sun, moon and stars. From the fourth day until our present time the light is completely identified with the light bearers.
The word “lights” in verse 14 is a different, but related, word to that used earlier in verses 3, 4 and 5. In the earlier verses the word was Strong’s #216 and the Hebrew word is “ore.” The word translated as “lights” in verse 14 is the word “maw-ore” and it is Strong’s #3974. If you remember, we previously discussed how God first made the light and then three days later He made the light bearers and this related to the Lord Jesus performing the atoning work for the sins of His people from the point of the world’s foundation when He died for them and satisfied the Law of God in full. Then He rose from the dead to be declared the Son of God. That is salvation and light points to salvation, so there is the “lights.” The light was first. So when God created the world He first created the light to illustrate the fact that Jesus had already died as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world – there was already salvation available and all that was left was for His blood to be applied to all those Jesus had already died for before the world was created. Later God created the sun, moon and stars and attached the light to them. Historically, it does not seem to make sense to create the light and then to create the light bearers later, but it is teaching spiritual truth. Christ wrought salvation in His work of faith and those works were finished from the foundation of the world and then later God would “attach” that salvation to His Word, as faith comes by hearing the Word of God. God attached that salvation to the Person of the Lord Jesus as He entered into the world and He became the Light bearer of the light that already existed. So it is really a very accurate picture of salvation in the way that God designed creation.
Then God said in Genesis 1:14:
… Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night…
This is exactly what God did with the light that He had previously created back in verse 4, where it says, “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Well, now He is doing the same thing as He uses the same language to apply to the sun, moon and stars, the lights in the firmament. Then it says in Genesis 1:14:
… and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
In these verses God is giving us four purposes for the sun, moon and stars:
It is through the sun that the earth receives its light in the day and it is through the moon and the stars that a lesser light shines upon the earth in the night. So these are the four main purposes for which God created the lights in the firmament, the sun, moon and stars. We are going to look at the first purpose.
First, the sun, moon and stars are for “signs.” When we think of the word “signs,” we may think of what Jesus said in the New Testament in Matthew 12:39-40:
… An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The Jews that heard Jesus say, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,” may have been surprised at that remark because they knew that God gave signs in the Old Testament. By the way, the word “signs” is Strong’s #226 and it is sometimes translated as “token,” as it was translated in Genesis 9:16-17:
And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
The “token” was a sign that God gave them. We looked at Genesis, chapter 17 earlier, but it says in Genesis 17:11:
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
The rainbow was a sign and circumcision was a sign.
When God commanded Moses to go forth to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, it says in Exodus 4:8:
And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
This related to Moses’ staff turning into a serpent, and so forth. These were “signs.”
It says in Exodus 31:13:
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am JEHOVAH that doth sanctify you.
The seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath was sign. We could go on because there were numerous times that God did give signs in the Old Testament and the Jews asked Jesus what sign He would give. So Jesus’ response would have certainly caused them to wonder why He said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.”
Let us look at a couple of verses in Deuteronomy, chapter 6 for this same word translated as “sign.” It says in Deuteronomy 6:6-8:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
It was God’s Word that was to be for a “sign.” It also says the same thing in Deuteronomy 11:18:
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
Again, God’s Word, the Bible, is for a sign. This is a very important thing to understand because in the New Testament we read a significant chapter about the end of the world, in Matthew 24:2-3:
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
The disciples are asking Jesus for a sign. The account in Mark 13 tells us who these disciples were in Mark 13:3-4:
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
The number “four” points to the universal interest of all God’s elect regarding the coming of the Lord: “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” It was a two-part question and Jesus did not say to the disciples, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” He said it earlier to the scribes and Pharisees, in Matthew 12:38-39:
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
We have to read this carefully because even though Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,”He does give a sign. The sign is limited to the “sign of the prophet Jonas,” but it is still a sign and that fits in with why Jesus lays out God’s program for the end of the world throughout Matthew, chapter 24 and into chapter 25. He will show His disciples what would be the “evidence” of the end, like the things related to Matthew 24:15:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
It is not something you see with your physical eyes, but with the eyes of understanding as God opens up the understanding of His people to discern both time and judgment. One sign would be when they would see the “abomination of desolation” (Satan) standing in the holy place (the corporate church). This was part of Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question: “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” This was part of the sign and a big indicator of the sign of Christ’s coming, as well as the rest of the information Christ gives in regard to false Christs and false apostles. Look at Matthew 24:24:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Here, the false Christs and false prophets would show great signs and wonders. What are the believers to do? They could be deceived, if that were possible, because the (physical) signs would be so persuasive. But we are greatly helped because Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas,” and in order to understand this sign you have to turn to the Book of Jonah (the Bible) and read what happened to Jonah. That is where we learn that he was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly and that is significant because Deuteronomy 6 and Deuteronomy 11 both said that God’s Word, the Bible, is for a sign. To receive the sign of the prophet Jonah you have to read the Word of God, the Bible, because that is where the “signs” are permitted.
You may receive a sign from God concerning various things. For example, to understand the sign of circumcision, we must read the Bible. In regard to the sign of the Sabbath Day, what does that sign mean? How do you understand it? You read the Bible and then you see it has to do with resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ in salvation. So God’s signs are geared toward the Bible and they are not “outward” signs like signs in the sky or the heavens above. That causes us to wonder why God said the sun, moon and stars are for “signs.” You look up in the night sky and you see the moon and stars and in the day you see the sun and can we find signs there? Superstitious religions have long looked at the celestial bodies and found spiritual meanings in them. There was a time when they were worshipped. But we will never learn anything that way. They are not signs in that sense, but they are signs in that the “sun” points to the Lord Jesus as the Light of the world. The moon points to the Word of God. The moon reflects the light of the sun and the Word of God reflects the light of God Himself. Remember, the light came into being first and that represented the Light of Christ who first did His atoning work and then that Light was attached to the Word of God. The stars shine forth the light of God and they are related to God’s people that carry the message of God.
So the sun, moon and stars are the lights of the world. They are wrapped up, spiritually speaking, with the light of the Word of God, the Bible. Therefore, God can use them as “signs.”