Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #16 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read 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.
I will stop reading there. In our last study we were looking at Genesis 1:14:
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:
Then it says in Genesis 1:15:
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth:
We saw that these were the four purposes of the lights that God put in the heavens:
We looked at how the sun, moon and stars were for “signs” and we saw that God uses the Hebrew word translated as “signs” in Deuteronomy, chapter 6, where He said of His Words that we are to “bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” He said the same thing in Deuteronomy 11, verse 18.
Then we considered what the Lord said in Matthew 12, where He said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it,” and if He would have stopped there we would have thought that “signs” are completely forbidden and that there is to be no signs, but He did not stop there. He went on to say, “And there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” This means that God will give “signs,” but the sign has to be something found in the Bible because that is where you can read about the prophet Jonah and how he was in the whale’s belly, and so forth. When we put this fact together along with the statement in Deuteronomy 6, verses 6 through 8 about His Words being bound for a sign upon our hands, then we understand that signs outside of the Bible are not to be sought – that is what an evil and adulterous generation seeks. In other words, God is not going to give a sign concerning the physical sun, moon and stars, like solar flares or the moon being in a certain alignment or the recent phenomenon of a “blood moon.” Some in the churches were very excited about the “blood moon,” but that does not mean a thing as far as the Bible is concerned because that is an outward sign. You can look for signs in the “sun, moon and stars” because God says He created them for signs, but it is a wrong understanding to look at the literal, physical sun, moon and stars and to seek a sign there. In that case, no sign will be given by God in the physical realm.
The disciples asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” They were not wrong to ask because Jesus proceeded to give Scripture and signs in the Bible are permitted and, therefore, Christ gave signs of false prophets and the abomination of desolation in the holy place and fleeing to the mountains, and so on. Then we read in Matthew 24:29-30:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…
Some might say, “Well, there it is! You will know Christ is coming when you look into the heavens and you see that the sun is dark and the moon is not giving light and the stars are falling. That is the sign of the Son of man coming.” No, this is not possible, physically or literally, because it would go against what Jesus said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” Anything outside the Bible in the world or in the sky above is not permitted. God will not give that kind of sign. The disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The sign is when the heavens are dark and the light of the sun, moon and stars can no longer be seen. The sign is darkness in the heavens above. What does that mean? Let us look at the same account 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?
This is the parallel passage and the disciples are asking the same question. One thing to note is that in Christ’s response, He says in Mark 13:22-23:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Again, how could you tell the difference? If we are looking for the sign of Christ’s coming and the end of the world, it says that at the time of the end false Christs and false prophets would show signs and wonders that would seduce (if it were possible) even the elect. How can we distinguish between a false sign and a legitimate sign that God permits?
What are the “signs” in evidence today in the churches? They give the “signs” of speaking in tongues as a sign of having the Holy Spirit. They give the “signs” of falling over backwards as a sign of “being slain the spirit.” (They think that is a good thing, but it is not.) These are evidences that God is not with them in any way because their signs are outward signs. It is just like an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign in the physical heavens above. So, too, if the sign is someone falling over backwards or if the sign is someone speaking in a tongue or receiving a dream or vision, these are outward signs that are outside of the Bible and we can know they are not from God. God has told us He will not work that way. That is not His program of “signs” to give those physical indicators. It is the “still small voice” of God through His Spirit as He leads His people to truth in the Bible itself. It is in the Bible that you can find information (if God is pleased to reveal it) concerning the time of the end and concerning the Biblical calendar of history and the timetable for God’s seasons of the church age, the Great Tribulation and Judgment Day, and so forth. All the information is derived from the Bible alone and nowhere else – there is to be no outward sign of any kind.
Let us look at Luke, chapter 21, which is a parallel chapter to Mark 13 and Matthew 24. 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;
We know when these signs took place. Again, Luke 21 is the parallel passage where Jesus is answering the disciples’ question: “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” So, here is the Lord’s response, as He says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” These are the signs and that is why God gave the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. The sun, moon and stars are for “signs,” but it is not found in looking at the physical heavens for these signs. God is not working that way. Once the Bible was completed, God would not give that kind of sign and, therefore, we have to look at the spiritual meaning of the “sun, moon and stars,” in order to see legitimate signs.
We have talked about this before. The “sun” identifies with Christ. JEHOVAH God is a sun and a shield. The “moon” identifies with the Law of God, the Bible, and the Word of God reflects the light of Christ. It is the lesser light in comparison to the Person of God, but it is His Word that shines forth the light of truth. The “stars” point to all those God has saved and God makes them “lights” in the world to shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. These are the light bearers, spiritually speaking. Once they go “dark,” which the Bible tells us happens “immediately after the tribulation,” then you have received the “signs” of the coming of the Lord and of the end of the world. And that happened in our day because we know that May 21, 2011 was the 23rd year or the 8,400th day of the Great Tribulation. It was the concluding day of the Great Tribulation and all the days since then are the days “immediately after that tribulation.” We have been living in those days after that tribulation and the “signs” has been in place since that point in time; the signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars are in the Bible. The physical sun still shines in the sky. The physical moon still comes out at night and the stars are still shining, but in the Bible, which is the one place we are permitted to look, the people of God see that the lights of the Gospel are now darkened and that is a huge indicator and a huge “signs” of the end and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us go back to Genesis, chapter 1 and read Genesis 1:14:
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…
The Hebrew word translated as “seasons” is Strong’s #4150. It is translated in a variety of ways. It is often translated as “congregation.” When we read of the tabernacle of the congregation, the word “congregation” is often the word translated here as “seasons.” I do not fully understand why God did that, but He did it many times. This Hebrew word is also translated as “set time” in Genesis 17:21:
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
God set a time for the birth of Isaac. Of course, Isaac was Abraham’s son and Isaac pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice how God informs Abraham and Sarah. Who does Sarah represent? She represents the body of believers, God’s elect. God is informing them of the Promised Son. Remember it had been quite some time back that God gave this promise to Abraham of an heir, but God made them wait (as God often does). There was seemingly no response from heaven and God did not seem to be acting upon His promise, so they even tried to work things out themselves when Sarah gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham and Ishmael was born. But God had a timetable and God finally came and He very specifically gives them a date at a “set time in the next year.” It was not 10 years down the road, but it was the next year that their promised son would come into the world. Again, Isaac is a type of Christ. Abraham would later be called upon by God to go to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his only son. He was about to do so when God stopped him. God accounted that Abraham had done so, because Abraham had trusted that God would resurrect his son. It was a beautiful picture of God the Father sacrificing His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so Isaac is a type and picture of Christ.
What does it mean that God revealed to Abraham and to Sarah the coming birth of Isaac? It is a picture of God revealing the coming birth of the Messiah. God would not keep it secret. Remember the principal that God reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets. God tells His people in advance the things He is about to do. He did it, historically, with the birth of a type of Christ, Isaac, and He did it with the birth of the actual Messiah, the Lord Jesus. In the Gospel accounts, God first came to Zacharias and told him that he would have a son, but Zacharias did not believe God so God made him “dumb” until he named the son John (the Baptist). It was a precursor or prefigure of the birth of the Messiah. They were informed that the Messiah would soon be born and Mary was told by the Angel of God that she was with child by the Holy Ghost and she went to see Elisabeth and John leaped in the womb for joy. There was also Simeon who was told he would not experience death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Also, Anna the prophetess was also waiting for Christ to come. God had informed His people and they knew in advance about the coming Messiah. That is how God operates.
Again, it refers to a “set time” in Genesis 17:21 and that is our word translated as “seasons” in Genesis, chapter 1. It is also translated as “time appointed” in Genesis 18:14:
Is any thing too hard for JEHOVAH? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
The “time appointed” is from the same word as “set time” and as “seasons” in our verse in Genesis, chapter 1.
It also says in Exodus 23:14-15:
Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
The feast days are at the “time appointed” or the “set time.” God established these dates for various reasons. The coming out of Egypt was the time that the Passover was established and it became a “time appointed” in every subsequent year. How would those years be counted? It was calculated by the celestial time keepers, especially the moon. The moon phases would give passage of time from one month to the next month, as the Israelites followed the lunar calendar. When one month ended, the next month began according to the moon. The sun and moon were given for “seasons” and “appointed times,” so they could keep track of years according to the number of months; when 12 months passed, then one year had passed. That is one way that God has established the time keepers, the celestial bodies which He placed in the heavens. We saw that they are also for days and years, according to our verse, but they are also for “seasons.” God would command the Jews to observe a set time for the Passover, for Pentecost, for the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Harvest. They were required to keep them at their appointed times. The Lord is a very precise God and everything is done in its time and season. There are set or appointed times that God has established.