The Gospel in Genesis

The book of Genesis gives the history, the means, and the process of creation. But that book was not written at creation. I call your attention now to that fact, and want you to think for a while upon the meaning of that fact. I will state it again: The first chapter of Genesis gives the history, the means, and the process of creation; but it was not written at creation. Then is it not plain that, since the account of creation was not written at creation, but a long time afterward, there was a purpose in the writing of it beyond its being only a record of creation?

If the first chapter of Genesis had been written the next day after creation, it might be said that the primary purpose of the writing of it, was to give men an account of creation, but since it was not written until nearly two thousand years afterward, it must be plain that, since the people all this time had gotten along without any written record of creation, the primary purpose of the written record was beyond telling how creation was wrought. For if I could get along all right for forty years without a certain record, and then God should cause that record to be written for me, would it not be plain that I needed that record for something more than simply the record?

Genesis was written by Moses during the forty years he was keeping the sheep of his father-in-law; but that was after the message had come to bring the people out of Egypt. The Lord had called Moses to deliver the people, but Moses had not yet learned just how. He made a misstep the first thing, and had to take forty years of instruction before this deliverance could be wrought; and in this forty years he wrote the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis was, therefore, written at the time of coming out of Egypt, when God was to deliver His people from Egypt and set them a light in the world for all the world forever.

In Exodus 15:13, 16, 17 we read: "Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed, Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm they shall be as still as a stone: till Thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which Thou has purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which Thou has made for Thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established."

This is emphasized in Revelation 15, in the record of that company which stands on the sea of glass, "having the harps of God" and who "had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name," singing "the song of Moses the servant of God."

First, Thou shalt bring them into Thy holy habitation - to the place where God Himself inhabits; secondly, into "the mountain of Thine inheritance [the land of God's inheritance], in the place, O Lord, which Thou has made for Thee to dwell in." What place is that holy habitation, that place of God's inheritance, that place which is made for Him to dwell in? Revelation 21, you know, tells it. The time comes when it is said, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."

"In the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established." Of all people, we are the ones who should know for a certainty what sanctuary that is; for "of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."

Again: in Acts 7 it is said, "When the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt," and then the deliverance came. God had sworn to Abraham, and had promised to give his seed the land which he saw, the world to come. And in Exodus 6:2-8 it is spoken: "And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord."

When God gave that promise to Abraham and gave His oath, it was to Abraham and his seed; not to the seed without Abraham, or to Abraham without his seed. So when God was to bring them into the land which He sware unto Abraham and Isaac and Jacob to give it to them, they were all to be together. God was to bring His people, whether immediately or in process of time, is not material. The great object which God had in bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt was to bring them into the land which he had sworn to give to Abraham, and that land He says is His holy habitation, the place which He made for Himself to dwell in, the mountain of His own inheritance, and in the sanctuary which His own hands had established.

Since that was God's object in bringing the people out of Egypt, and that promise to Abraham is the new earth which God will create, do you not see the object in the giving of Genesis then? It was so that they should become acquainted with creation, with creative power, so that God by His creative power might recreate them and bring them into the new world, which He was to create and give to Abraham, according to that which He had promised him.

What God does is always by creation. The great thing of all to which God was to bring His people, was the newly created world. But it was impossible that they should come to that without being newly created themselves. Therefore, in order that they might have instruction in creation, He wrote out an account of creation as an object-lesson, a school of instruction for every soul, that all might become acquainted with God's processes, with God's means, with God's creative power, so that God's work by them might be accomplished through its first being wrought in him [them].

And there was "the church in the wilderness." Jesus Christ took His place there as the Head of the church. And here again we see His own processes of organization. He continued it, and kept it up until He came into the land of Canaan, and we have heard as to what God's object was in the land. But the people missed God's object, and His purposes in their organization in the land; and they, missing God's object, and failing to see God's purposes in the instruction which He had given them, began to organize themselves. And the organization which they accomplished when they did it themselves was what? What did it amount to but a kingdom? They must have a king. Never forget that the ultimate of every organization that ever man accomplished is kingship. And that among men is despotism and ruin. And yet to us, years ago, God spoke that unless a different course were followed, "the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel" would be repeated among His people.

So there the Lord took charge of His church; but instead of their finding God's organization and holding fast to the Head, they turned and made "a head" of their own, that they might be like all the nations. They became like all the nations, and came to an end, as did all the nations-- destruction to the first ten tribes and then the destruction of all the tribes at the final destruction of Jerusalem by their choosing Caesar instead of God. For when Pilate had put before them the challenge, "Shall I crucify your King?" they said, "We have no king but Caesar."

Then God started His course with His church again, with Christ as the Head and the Organizer. And the mystery of God was manifested and made known unto the sons of men as it was not known unto the ages before, as it was revealed then unto the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. The mystery which had been kept secret in times eternal, was made known to His saints, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Christ was the Head of every man, and the Head of all by being the Head of each.

But the mystery of iniquity arose, and put itself in the place of God, passing itself off for God; and hid again from ages and generations the mystery of God. But thank the Lord, the day has come, when the angel of the Lord lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets. The mystery of God shall once more stand forth in its sincerity, in its purity, in its power, and that is the power of God.

There is to be no more delay, thank the Lord; there has been too much. Now God has set His hand the second time to deliver His people who are scattered. And He is to bring us into the land which He promised, which He sware to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. But that is to be by creation only, for He that sits upon the throne, when that day comes, says, "Behold, I make all things new." So, then, we are to enter into the promises of Abraham only by the creation of God, and we are all to enter into that inheritance of Abraham only by the creation of God.

Then let us study that first chapter of Genesis. What is in it? "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." And how did He do it? - "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth;" "for He spake, and it was." What does that mean to us? - In that first word in Genesis there is a lesson for every one of us. God created the heavens and the earth, by His word. What of us? 1 Peter 123-25: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

That word by which God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning, is the word of the gospel, which is now preached unto you. Then in the first words in Genesis, is the gospel. The first words of Genesis is the preaching of the gospel. And with that is connected Ephesians 2:8-10: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. Then the first step, you see, in Christianity, the first step in the course which God would have men take, can be taken only by creation, can be taken only by our being created. And the becoming a Christian is just as much creation as was the making of the world in the beginning. No man can ever become a Christian except by being created, as really as the world was created in the beginning. And the great beauty of that truth is that it is so easy for it all to be done. For when we have it settled that it can be done only by creation, self is utterly lost, you see; he knows that there is no source of creation in him; he simply has to quit. And when he knows that it can be done only by creation, and is brought face to face with the Creator, then it is easy; for God can create simply by speaking the word. "He spake, and it was."

Next: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Now we were all darkness; but God creates us new; and our lives, until God does create us new, are less than nothing, worse than nothing. Yet when God creates us new, as for any life of righteousness, any life of godliness, what is the situation? Isn't it formless and void? When God takes a man from the world, from the darkness that may be felt, and creates him new, all that is before him is new. So I say as to that new life which the man is to find, and which is to be found in the man, what is his condition as relates to it except formless and void? But behold the next thing: "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

Now that word "moved" means "brooded". It is the same thought exactly as Jesus spoke to the people of Jerusalem: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings. [I would have gathered you; I would have brooded over you; I would have sheltered you and brought from this brooding that newborn thing, to the glory of God]; and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

No man in this world can be a self-governing individual except as God in Jesus Christ is his Head, and the man is governed by the power of God. The only self-government, true self- government, in this world is a man standing in the liberty wherewith Jesus Christ has made him free, master of his worst self, and living in the divine self, which is Jesus Christ. Then he has met the enmity, the evil, and has it underfoot; and there he stands in the heaven-born liberty with which God has made him free, - a free, self-governing individual, as God made him to be in the beginning, and as He makes him to be when He makes him again.

Now that does not separate him from all other people. Our truest unity, with other people is our sole loneliness with God. Our truest fellowship, our sincerest love, our tenderest sympathy, reaching out to all people, is found only in standing absolutely alone, separate from all other things, with God. And for what shall we be brought face to face with God? - To find our bearings, which we have been exhorted to find. And having found our bearings, then let God in Christ be the Head, and the grand Organizer.

But this - this only is by the Spirit of God; the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, who broods upon all. Jesus went away. He was here. He was Head of the Church when He was here. But He said, "It is expedient for you that I go away;" it is not good for you that I stay; I must go. "For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." There are more reasons than one; but the reason which concerns us just now, why Jesus should go away that the Comforter should come, is that Jesus in the flesh could not be in all places at once. But when He went away, He sent us the Holy Spirit, which broods over all God's creation; and by that Spirit, Jesus Christ can become the Head of every vestige of His creation. Then when any soul, any individual on the earth, has found this creation, has become a part of the creation of God, the Holy Spirit broods over him; and so Christ becomes the Head of that individual, and that man has a Counselor who is more capable of giving counsel than is any man. May the Lord join us to Himself! May we find that creative power in God, by which each soul shall find Jesus Christ, his Head and his Counselor, day and night forever.

Again to the first of Genesis: God said, "Let there be light: and there was light," and the light was the life. But creation was not finished. The creation was not completed; it was not perfected even now when the Spirit of God was brooding upon it. Other steps were taken. I need not follow each one in detail, I want simply to get the fact before you. The next thing was the firmament; then, the next day, the waters gathered together into one place, and the dry land appeared; then the next day the earth brought forth fruit; and so on through the six days.

Those successive steps in the creation of the world, through the whole process of the creation, were not taken by growth from the original creation. How were those steps taken? - By successive creations. That says to you and me this: We become Christians only by creation; we remain Christians only by creative power; we grow in Christian grace only by successive creations of God. There is no development in Christian life except by the direct creative power of God from heaven, through His word, by the Holy Spirit.

Now do you not begin to see the philosophy of giving to Israel as they come out of Egypt, the record of creation? God wanted each individual of Israel to know the creative power of God abiding in his life day and night. But that blessed design has been delayed, delayed, delayed, and it has now come to you and to me, and we are the people-- the last generation, to whom God has written the first chapter of Genesis.

It is exceedingly important to note that just at this time in earth's history, when the first chapter of Genesis is being set aside, and everything is considered to be by evolution instead of creation, and all the world and the churches have come to that theory, it is time that God should reveal to His people the true meaning of the first chapter of Genesis. Now God, in His people, may hold up before the world His light and the power of His creation, against the insidious deceptions of Satan, that are leading away the world into the everlasting abyss. God wants every one of us to become so connected with that creative power, to find that creative power living in us, as the only means of our progress-- our Christian growth. Being grafted to the "true vine," we can stand in the light of God, and upon that firm foundation of the word of God, certifying to the word in such a way that the world cannot doubt it. They may reject it by not choosing to surrender to it; but they can not doubt it. He wants us to show that this popular teaching of "theistic evolution" set forth in the first chapter of Genesis is a false concept, and merely "so-called science." He wants the true science of Genesis to be light unto the world. But no man can teach it unless he knows it in his own life.

Now, these successive steps in creation were not by growth from the original in the beginning of the heaven and the earth: but each step was taken by a direct creation by God speaking the word. God said, "Let there be a firmament," and it was so. "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 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 so on. But when we have to grow, brethren, by trying to do better, etc., etc., it is a wearisome, tiresome, and fruitless process. O when we know that the true progress, the true growth of Christian life, the true development of the Christian heart, is by the successive creations of God through His spoken word in the Spirit, then all that is needed is to find the word: and it is done. Here is the true remedy.

Have you found yourself barren? Have you found obstacles in your life that, so hard as you try to gain the victory, you failed? Here is the remedy: When I find a lack in my life, - that which is not of God, that which is not a reflection of the word of God, - I must search the Scriptures till I find the word of God speaking to me on that question, and then that word creates me new in that thing, and the old is passed away, and all has become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

That is the science of searching the Scriptures. Oh, to search the Scriptures for doctrine, to search the Scriptures for sermons, to search the Scriptures for arguments, is all vanity, vexation of spirit, and idolatry. But to search the Scriptures to find the creative word of God, to choose creation, the righteousness of God in the place of my sin, - that will put the power of God, the strength of God, in the place of my weakness; that will make God appear in the place of myself - that is the searching of the Scriptures, that is the salvation of the soul. And is there not room enough? Is there not sufficient ground for us to begin that kind of searching of the Scriptures?

Certainly it is a blessed prospect-- a message of good cheer to every soul who finds himself destitute, who finds himself cast down, who finds himself the victim of the enemy-- it is a blessed message that God sends, that "He spake, and it was done?" Only find the spoken word of God, and your infirmity is gone before His creative power, as in the spoken word through the Holy Spirit. "He spake, and it was;" and this word of God, which we read from day to day in the Bible, is just as much the spoken word of God as was that word which He spake in the beginning, that created the heaven and earth.

In the first chapter of Genesis, we witness a process of successive creations continuing until God's ideal appeared, the perfect man-- created by the power of God; and he stood as the son of God-- Adam. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." And then God rested. The Sabbath was God's seal of perfection, - the delightful, refreshing rest which God took, beholding the finished creation from the beginning unto perfection. So we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God broods upon this new creation, causing the spoken creative word to bring to perfection this new creation "a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Then the seal of God can be affixed.

The Lord will rest again, and will joy over us with singing. He will rest. "He will rest in His love." You know that when Jesus came here, He said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." But the time is coming when He will rest again. In the original creation, the Father worked, and Jesus worked, through the Holy Spirit that accompanied the work and perfected the creation. God rejoiced, and was refreshed. But that creation thrown all over, and God began again to create, and He has kept it up till now, and soon it is to be finished, and then when it is finished, - let us read the word of God in Zephaniah, the third chapter, and 13th verse.

"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity [the remnant that keeps the commandments of God, and has the testimony of Jesus Christ]; nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee." Let us rise into the liberty wherewith He hath made us free, by casting out the enemy. "The King of Israel," - the true God, - "The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more." Bless the Lord! "In that day." Here is what is before us. Now hear the word: "In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will REST in His love. He will joy over thee with singing."

The world has known us too well. It has had cause to know us. We have been so much like the world, that the world recognized us: but the Lord will deliver us from all that, and the world shall know us no more, because it shall not be able to recognize us as of the world. It will know that we are not of the world; that our fellowship is not with the world; that our interests are not centered in earthly things; and that brooding Spirit will put upon us such a character and will cause us to speak such words, and will give to us such an appearance in the world.

This is the beginning of Genesis. It is not all the book. Remember, all the book was written while Moses was there keeping the sheep, and all the book belongs to us now. But none of the rest of the book will count for us, unless we find the science and the philosophy of the first chapter of the book: for that is the beginning of God's creation and God's processes and of everything, and nothing is found as it truly is until we find that. In the light of that, then all the rest is plain, and all the rest is ours, thank the Lord.

Let us search the Scripture. Let us all read it, and know that it is a good plan to follow-- to read over and over, over and over, the first chapter of Genesis, until we shall see in it, with our eyes shut, the Christian experience in every verse, and in our own lives day by day. Then the Spirit of God will brood upon that creation which God is carrying on to bring us unto perfection in Christ Jesus, so that the work of God shall be done, the triumph of the saints shall come, and we shall rejoice before the Lord now and forevermore. Then the church shall indeed grow into an holy temple in the Lord; and this church, Christ shall present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but shall be holy and without blemish. Yes, "YAH is our Righteousness."

Adapted from A. T. Jones: 1901 General Conference Bulletin, pp. 101-105.

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