February 26: Daily Bible Reading
THE FALL OF MAN
NOW the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made (the word “subtle,” as used here, is not negative, but rather positive; everything that God made before the Fall was positive; it describes qualities such as quickness of sight, swiftness of motion, activity of self-preservation, and seemingly intelligent adaptation to its surroundings). And he said unto the woman (not a fable; the serpent before the Fall had the ability of limited speech; Eve did not seem surprised when he spoke to her!), Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? (The serpent evidently lent its faculties to Satan, even though the Evil One is not mentioned. That being the case, Satan spoke through the serpent, and questioned the Word of God.)
2 And the woman said unto the serpent (proclaims Satan leveling his attack against Eve, instead of Adam; his use of Eve was only a means to get to Adam), We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the Garden (the trial of our first parents was ordained by God, because probation was essential to their spiritual development and self-determination; but as He did not desire that they should be tempted to their Fall, He would not suffer Satan to tempt them in a way that would surpass their human capacity; the tempted might, therefore, have resisted the tempter):
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die (Eve quoted what the Lord had said about the prohibition, but then added, “neither shall you touch it”).
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die (proclaims an outright denial of the Word of God; as God had preached to Adam, Satan now preaches to Eve; Jesus called Satan a liar, which probably refers to this very moment [Jn. 8:44]):
5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened (suggests the attainment of higher wisdom), and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (In effect says, “You shall be Elohim.” It was a promise of Divinity. God is Omniscient, meaning that His knowledge of evil is thorough, but not by personal experience. By His very Nature, He is totally separate from all that is evil. The knowledge of evil that Adam and Eve would learn would be by moral degradation, which would bring wreckage. While it was proper to desire to be like God, it is proper only if done in the right way, and that is through Faith in Christ and what He has done for us at the Cross.)
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (presents the lust of the eyes), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the flesh), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat (constitutes the Fall), and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (refers to the fact that evidently Adam was an observer to all these proceedings; some claim that he ate of the forbidden fruit which she offered him out of love for her; however, no one ever sins out of love; Eve submitted to the temptation out of deception, but “Adam was not deceived” [I Tim. 2:14]; he fell because of unbelief; he simply didn’t believe what God had said about the situation; contrast Verse 6 with Luke 4:1-13; both present the three temptations, “the lust of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life”; the first man falls, the Second Man conquers).
7 And the eyes of them both were opened (refers to the consciousness of guilt as a result of their sin), and they knew that they were naked (refers to the fact that they had lost the enswathing light of purity, which previously had clothed their bodies); and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (sinners clothe themselves with morality, sacraments, and religious ceremonies; they are as worthless as Adam’s apron of fig leaves).
8 And they heard the Voice of the LORD God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day (the “Voice” of the Lord had once been a welcome sound; it is now a dreaded sound, because of their sin; it is not that the Voice of the Lord had changed, for it hadn’t; it was the same Voice that they had heard since creation; He hadn’t changed, but they had): and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the Garden (here is the dawn of a new era in the history of humanity; the eye of a guilt conscience is now opened for the first time, and God and the universe appear in new and terrible forms).
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you? (This is the first question in the Old Testament. “Where is he?” is the first question in the New Testament [Mat. 2:2]. The Old Testament, God seeking the sinner; the New Testament, the sinner seeking God.)
10 And he (Adam) said, I heard Your Voice in the Garden, and I was afraid (fear is the first reaction of fallen man; Adam’s consciousness of the effects of sin was keener than his sense of the sin itself), because I was naked; and I hid myself (he was naked to the Judgment of God, because of sin, which must be judged; he tried to hide himself from God, even as untold millions have, but never with any success; God wanted Adam to know that he who hides himself from Him is never hidden from Him, and that he who runs away from Him can never escape Him).
11 And He said, Who told you that you were naked (carries Adam’s mind from the effect to the sin that had caused it; as long as a man feels sorrow only for the results of his action, there is no Repentance, and no wish to return to the Divine Presence)? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? (The way the question is framed removes the pretext of ignorance, and also points to the fact that the sin had been carried out in direct violation of the Divine prohibition [Calvin].)
12 And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat (Adam first of all blamed God, and then blamed Eve; he recapitulates the history, as if, in his view, it was a matter of course that he should act as he had done; man has been doing this ever since).
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? (The two questions, “Where are you?” and “What is this that you have done?” comprise the human problem.) And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat (presents Eve blaming the serpent; in a sense, she was blaming God as well, simply because God had made the serpent).
THE ADAMIC COVENANT
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent (as we shall see, presents no question or interrogation being posed toward the serpent at all; God judges him, and it is in listening to this judgment that the guilty pair hear the first great Promise respecting Christ), Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field (refers to this animal being reduced from possibly the highest place and position in the animal kingdom to the lowest); upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life (if in fact the serpent was an unwitting tool in the hand of Satan, then I think that the Lord would not have placed a curse upon this animal):
15 And I will put enmity (animosity) between you and the woman (presents the Lord now actually speaking to Satan, who had used the serpent; in effect, the Lord is saying to Satan, “You used the woman to bring down the human race, and I will use the woman as an instrument to bring the Redeemer into the world, Who will save the human race”), and between your seed (mankind which follows Satan) and her Seed (the Lord Jesus Christ); it (Christ) shall bruise your head (the victory that Jesus won at the Cross [Col. 2;14-15]), and you shall bruise His Heel (the sufferings of the Cross).
16 Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception (the original Plan of God was that husband and wife would bring sons and daughters of God into the world; due to the Fall, they can only bring sons and daughters into the world in the “likeness of Adam” [Gen. 5:3]); in sorrow you shall bring forth children (as a result of the Fall, children would be born into a world of sorrow); and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you (her husband, instead of God, would now rule over her).
17 And unto Adam He said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of your wife (Adam hearkened unto his wife instead of God), and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it (the tree itself contained no evil properties in the fruit; the Fall, as stated, was caused rather by disobedience to the Word of God): cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life (Earth was originally intended to be a paradise, but now it will give up its largesse reluctantly; as well, the phrase, “all the days of your life,” proclaims the death sentence, which means that life is now terminal, all as a result of “spiritual death,” which was, and is, separation from God);
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you (thorns and thistles were not originally in the creation of God, this being a result of the curse, which is a result of the sin of man); and you shall eat the herb of the field (this would not now grow freely, as originally intended, but only now with great care and great labor);
19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread (food will be obtained by hard labor), till you return unto the ground (the life-source, which was formerly in God, is now in food, and which is woefully insufficient); for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return (the Power of God alone could keep the dust alive; that being gone, to dust man returns).
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. (God named the man, and called him Adam, which means “red earth.” Adam named the woman, and called her Eve, which means “life.” Adam bears the name of the dying body, Eve of the living soul.)
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them (in the making of coats of skins, God, in effect, was telling Adam and Eve that their fig leaves were insufficient; as well, He was teaching them that without the shedding of blood, which pertained to the animals that gave their lives, which were Types of Christ, is no remission of sin; in this first sacrifice was laid the foundation of the entirety of the Plan of God as it regards Redemption; also, it must be noticed that it is the “LORD God” Who furnished these coats, and not man himself; this tells us that Salvation is altogether of God and not at all of man; the Life of Christ given on the Cross, and given as our Substitute, provides the only covering for sin; everything else must be rejected).
EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil (the Lord knew evil, not by personal experience, but rather through Omniscience; man now knows evil by becoming evil, which is the fountainhead of all sorrow in the world; the pronoun “Us” signifies the Godhead, “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit”): and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever (this would have been the worst thing of all, to have an Adolf Hitler to live forever, etc.):
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden (in effect this was an act of mercy; man is expelled from the Garden, lest by eating the Tree of Life he should perpetuate his misery; but God’s Love for him, though fallen and guilty, is so strong that He accompanies him into exile; as well, through Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, Who will be given in Sacrifice, the Lord will show Adam, and all who would follow him, how to come back into Paradise; regrettably, there is no record that Adam and Eve placed any faith in the Lord; unfortunately, untold billions have followed suit), to till the ground from whence he was taken (refers to a place of toil, not to a place of torment).
24 So He (God) drove out the man (implies the idea of force and displeasure); and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims (these Cherubims signified the Holiness of God, which man had now forfeited), and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life (the “flaming sword” was emblematic of the Divine Glory in its attitude towards sin).
A PSALM OF DAVID: A PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD
LORD, how are they increased who trouble Me! many are they who rise up against Me. (The Holy Spirit put these words into David’s mouth the morning after his flight from Jerusalem because of Absalom’s unnatural rebellion. David is seen here as a Type of the Messiah rejected by His Own people. Though surrounded by enemies, he slept in confidence upon the mountainside beneath Jehovah’s sheltering wing, and in the assurance of faith declared that God would lift up his head and destroy his foes. So, even though many of these Psalms speak of David, they more so speak of our Greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, David was a Type of Christ.)
2 Many there be which say of My soul, There is no help for Him in God. Selah. (As Israel said this of David, likewise, they said it of the Lord Jesus Christ [Mat. 27:43].)
3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head (the latter phrase proclaims the fact that it is the Lord Who put David on the throne, and the Lord will keep him on the throne).
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah. (David believed in prayer, and so should we!)
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me (even though in the midst of a terrible problem, with Absalom trying to kill him, David knew that the Lord was in control).
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, who have set themselves against me round about (the Lord, with one man who believes in Him, is a majority [Rom. 8:31]).
7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for You have smitten all my enemies upon the cheek bone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly (a euphemism or allegory portraying the Lord discomfiting our enemies; the idea is, if we are truly right with God, the enemies of the Lord are also our enemies!).
8 Salvation belongs unto the LORD (He Alone can save): Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah. (The blessings surely aren’t on God’s enemies.)
THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
IN those days (immediately preceding the introduction of Christ) came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea (the area near Jericho);
2 And saying, Repent you (recognize one’s wrong direction): for the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom from the Heavens, headed up by Jesus Christ) is at hand (was being offered to Israel).
3 For this is he (John the Baptist) who was spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the Way of the LORD, make His paths straight (Isa. 40:3).
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan (the Jordan River),
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan (dipped completely under), confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees (two sects of self-righteous and zealous Jews) come to his baptism (Water Baptism), he said unto them, O generation of vipers (snakes), who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits (evidence) meet for (befitting) Repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father (pride): for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (the Lord has raised up the Gentiles as children unto Abraham [Gal. 3:7, 14]).
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Israel was cut down because of unbelief [Rom. 11:20]).
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto Repentance (Water Baptism was an outward act of an inward work already carried out): but He (Christ) Who comes after me is mightier than I, Whose Shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall Baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire (to burn out the sinful dross [Acts 2:2-4]):
12 Whose fan is in His Hand (the ancient method for winnowing grain), and He will thoroughly purge His Floor (“purging it, that it may bring forth more fruit” [Jn. 15:2]), and gather His Wheat into the garner (the end product as developed by the Spirit); but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (the wheat is symbolic of the Work of the Spirit, while the chaff is symbolic of the work of the flesh).
JOHN’S BAPTISM OF JESUS
13 Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him (signifying the greatest moment in human history thus far; the earthly Ministry of Christ would now begin).
14 But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be Baptized of You, and come You to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now (permit Me to be baptized): for thus it becomes us to fulfill all Righteousness (Water Baptism is a type of the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ [Rom. 6:3-5]). Then he suffered Him.
16 And Jesus, when He was baptized (this was the beginning of His earthly Ministry), went up straightway (immediately) out of the water (refers to Baptism by immersion and not by sprinkling): and, lo, the Heavens were opened unto Him (the only One, the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom the Heavens would be opened), and he saw the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him (John saw a visible form that reminded him of a dove):
17 And lo a Voice from Heaven, saying (the Voice of God the Father), This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased (the Trinity appears here: the Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son prays [Lk. 3:21]).
THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels (actually says in the Greek, “If it were possible to speak with the tongues of men and of Angels”; as well, Paul is not denigrating speaking with Tongues, as some have claimed [I Cor. 14:18]), and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (does not refer to our modern musical instrument which we call by that name, but that which made no more than a clattering sound).
2 And though I have the Gift of Prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all Faith, so that I could remove mountains (tells us that the Gifts of the Spirit can be had by less than perfect people, as should be obvious), and have not charity (love), I am nothing. (We now see the basis on which everything must be built — it is love. If not, we are nothing!)
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned (shifts from Gifts to “Works”), and have not charity (love), it profits me nothing. (As commendable as the acts may be, they bring a grade of zero unless God’s Love motivates them.)
4 Charity (love) suffers long (refers to patience), and is kind (represents the second side of the Divine attitude toward human kind); charity (the God kind of Love) envies not (does not want that which belongs to others); Love vaunts not itself (is never a braggart), is not puffed up (is not prideful),
5 Does not behave itself unseemly (is forgetful of self and thoughtful of others), seeks not her own (is unselfish), is not easily provoked (is not embittered by abuse, insult, or injury), thinks no evil (takes no account of evil);
6 Rejoices not in iniquity (never gossips about the misdeeds of others), but rejoices in the Truth (proclaims that which the Word of God identifies as Truth);
7 Bears all things (never complains), believes all things (takes the kindest views of all men), hopes all things (keeps believing for the best), endures all things (puts up with everything).
8 Love never fails (because love cannot fail): but whether there be Prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be Tongues, they shall cease; whether there be Knowledge, it shall vanish away. (This refers to the fact that the Gifts of the Spirit will not be needed in the coming Resurrection, as well as many other things we could name.)
9 For we know in part (pertains to the “Word of Knowledge,” which is just part Knowledge), and we Prophesy in part (falls into the same category).
10 But when that which is perfect is come (refers to the Rapture of the Church, i.e., the Resurrection), then that which is in part shall be done away (as should be obvious).
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (The Apostle is comparing our present state, “as a child,” to that which is coming, symbolized by a mature adult. That is the difference between the present state and the coming Resurrection.)
12 For now (before the Resurrection) we see through a glass, darkly (can only see the dim outline); but then (after the Resurrection) face to face (we can look and see openly and clearly): now I know in part (have some knowledge); but then shall I know even as also I am known (then everything will be perfect and complete).
13 And now (before the Resurrection) abides Faith, Hope, Love, these three (all three will abide forever); but the greatest of these is Love (it is the greatest because Love alone makes us like God [I Jn. 4:7]).