14. Creation and Redemption - THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN CREATIVE AND REDEMPTIVE DAYS
(Continuation of guest article by Phil Baird, Vermont, Australia)
In the following portion of this discourse we will consider the progression of events during the Creative Week as they align with the progression of events during the Redemptive Week. What God did during the first week involved creating the visible world. However, during the second Redemptive Week, God has been at work restoring his creation spiritually; a new creation that is only understood by those who understand God’s eternal purpose.
A. DAY 1.
God separated the light from the darkness.
On the first day of the Creative Week the major event that took place was that God said, “Let there be light… and he separated the light from the darkness”. How does this reflect what God did spiritually during the first day of the Redemptive Week?
Very little is recorded about this first ‘thousand year day’ of the Redemptive Week apart from two linear genealogies. The catastrophic fall of man into sin and the murder of Abel begin this very dark day for mankind. Cain murders his brother and chooses to depart from God’s presence. Genesis 4:16, “So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod” (meaning vagrancy or wandering). One of the things we see that really breaks God’s heart is when people choose to walk away from Him, to wander aimlessly through life, rejecting Him. After the seven generations of Cain we come to Lamech, at the end of this first 1,000 year day. He also was a murderer and his punishment was even darker, totally alienated from God. The scripture warns us, “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men…. the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble" (Proverbs 4: 14 & 18).
Fortunately the story doesn’t end there for the light broke through when Eve bore a third son called Seth. He was the first of a different generation. The scripture records, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26). Light dawned!
As with Cain, Seth’s genealogy is also recorded throughout the first day of the ‘Redemptive Week’, but those mentioned in his lineage walked in the light of God. At the end of this first day (of 1,000 years), just as the day is coming to a close, Enoch, the 7th from Adam, walked so closely with God that he was taken into the very presence of God. He chose the righteous path, which is the path of light. “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). This righteous genealogy also becomes very significant in later parts of Scripture because it’s the beginning of the royal lineage to Christ who is the ‘Light of the World'. We need to remind ourselves that, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18). Charles has mentioned throughout this web site that anything to do with the number 7 is profoundly linked with end times - we too shall be taken into the presence of the Lord on the 7th day of the 'Redemptive Week'.
B. DAY 2.
The Creation and Separation of the Seas Above and Below.
On the second day of the Creative Week the Lord created the earth’s atmosphere and the water that is now on the earth. Initially, He created water on the earth as well as a body of water suspended above the atmosphere. Some have suggested that this second body of water could have been in the form of ice acting like a glasshouse to enrich the plant life on earth. When the flood came the Bible says that this body of water broke up and contributed to the deluge leaving the earth with a changed climate after the flood (Genesis 7:11 & 8:22).
Comparatively, on the second day of the Redemptive Week, the two waters, one with abundant oxygen and one sparse in oxygen, and the flood waters of Noah’s time become central to what God did. We see that there was a spiritual deterioration leading up to the flood, which happened halfway through this day. Even the many children from the Godly line of Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech, who survived until the flood, had been caught up in the corruption of the then world. Only Noah and his family were found to be righteous and consequently survived the flood. God sent the great flood and broke up these natural seas above and beneath, so that the sea of humanity wouldn’t be dragged down to the pit of hell. He is now separating to himself a whole sea of people who will eventually inhabit heavenly places. This is a wonderful theme which develops continually throughout scripture. For, just as God created two natural seas, there are two spiritual seas referred to in scripture. Scripture often uses a 'sea' to symbolize a multitude of people or nations.
The Earthly Sea: The wicked are like the troubled sea, earth-bound, constantly churning in ferment. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20 & Jeremiah 6:23). When Jude speaks concerning certain godless men who should not belong in the church he says, “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame’ (Jude 14). Revelation 17:15 says, “Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages”. When Daniel foretells about the future kingdoms of this world, allegorically pictured like great beasts, he sees them arising out of the great sea of humanity (Daniel Chapter seven). Interestingly, it is the earthly sea which the Bible says will pass away at the end of the age, not the one in the heavens! “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1).
The Heavenly Sea: The number of the redeemed will continue to increase until there is a great multitude or sea of people, who inhabit heavenly places and ultimately heaven itself.
Psalm 148:4 says, “Praise Him…..you waters that be above the heavens”. The scripture tells us that the heavenly sea is as clear as crystal. There are no imperfections, certainly no mire and dirt in this sea. “Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal”. (Revelation 4:6) “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire....” (Revelation 15:2). This sea typifies millions of the redeemed who will stand before his throne in blazing glory.
C. DAY 3.
Ground Appears and the Promise of Fruitfulness.
This amazing day of creation sees the land separated from the ocean and the fertile soil produce all manner of wonderful plants and trees. Scriptures also point us to the wonder of seeds and the ability of plants to bear fruit, which are all part of this day’s creation.
The third day of the Redemptive Week begins with Abraham, in whom God at last finds ‘good soil’ to plant His word and begin to establish His eternal purpose through him and his descendants. (Consider the parable of the sower in Matthew chapter 13, in particular note verse 23. “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears
the word and understands it, who also bears fruit”). Abraham showed incredible faith in God trusting implicitly as he followed God’s leading to live a life that was incredibly fruitful. In the natural Abraham was also barren, but he was given the promise of fruitfulness and he became the father of many nations (Genesis 15: 1-6. Promise of fruitfulness to Abraham).
Though a somewhat similar promise was made to Eve, that her seed shall crush the serpent's head, it was to Abraham that God emphasized the promise of a SEED. “Your seed shall possess the gates of his enemies; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22: 17 & 18). Notice that the promised seed is singular and refers to Christ who possessed the ‘Gates of Hell’, yet there is a multiplication in Christ so that the scripture refers to all who come to faith, as ‘the children of Abraham’ or as of ‘the seed of Abraham’. “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).
God’s precious ‘FAMILY TREE’ is inaugurated and established with Abraham who is called “the father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11). This family tree is typified in scripture as the good OLIVE TREE, “The Lord called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form”.
D. DAY 4.
The Light of Heaven Revealed.
It was on the fourth creation day that God created the brilliant light of the heavens. The Sun, Moon and stars were revealed in all their glory. The timing of this event is what causes our scientists and the person who struggles to believe the Bible the most concern as logic would assert that this should have happened on Day 1 and certainly before Day 3. However, God is sovereign and had a divine purpose for choosing the order He did.
The fourth day of the Redemptive Week began around the time of King David who wrote many of the wonderful Psalms with their incredible prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah. It’s also during this fourth day that the major and minor-prophets prophesied that the Messiah (Jesus) “the light of the world” was coming. In 2 Peter 1:19 -21, Peter tells us that the prophets spoke the words of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Finally, John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus was coming and that He was the true light of the world.
“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1: 6-9). “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3: 19).
The light, spoken of by the prophets, increased until Jesus was revealed to the world at the climax of the fourth day in the Redemptive Week. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world".
It was God’s sovereign choice (and indeed his wisdom) that caused Him to wait four days before revealing his Son, the Lamb of God and Saviour of mankind, just as He waited four days to reveal the natural light we see today. In type, the children of Israel were told to select their Passover lamb and to keep it for four days before bringing it out and slaying it so that its shed blood could then bring about their salvation (Exodus 12: 3 & 6). (God had a reason for making this unusual command, he always does). In like manner, the Bible says the Lamb of God was chosen from the foundation of the world; already chosen as the offering for sin, yet Jesus was not revealed to the world for around 4,000 years or 4 days in God’s calendar, (NB. Revelation 13: 8). “But, when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law” (Galatians 4: 4). Timing is important to God.
E. DAY 5.
Fish Abound in the Sea and Birds Access The Heavens.
In the fifth day of the ‘Creative Week’, God fills the seas with fish and all manner of creatures. He also creates birds so they can fly in the expanse of the sky. He then blessed them all and caused them to increase in abundance.
When Jesus came the scripture, for the first time, has much to say about fish and fishing, all of which is significant. A number of His disciples who feature prominently at the beginning of this fifth day were fishermen (Peter, James, John & Andrew were all fishermen). Jesus called His disciples to have a changed mind-set and become “fishers of men,” instead of fishermen of the natural world. “Come follow me” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1: 17). Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a net that is cast into the sea and gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it ashore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away” (Matthew 13: 47- 48).
The disciples spread throughout the known world and became extremely effective fishers of souls, and Christianity spread rapidly during the first millennium after Christ (or this fifth day of the ‘Redemptive Week’).
The symbol of the fish predominates in the early centuries. Next to the cross the fish is our most authentic Christian symbol. It dates from the time of the Roman persecution of Christians during the early centuries of the church age. It can still be found carved on the walls of catacombs and over door lintels. The Greek word ichthus or ichthys means, “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour, Fisher of men.”
On the fifth day of creation God also created birds. The Bible emphasises that He made creatures “that could fly above the earth in the open face of heaven” (Genesis 1:20). What an amazing creation! Creatures that could actually access the heavens. Man has always been enthralled by the wonder of flight; an ingenious and spectacular ability created by God on this fifth day. Today, when we’re captivated by some of the gigantic aircraft we see in flight, we have to acknowledge that the technology (ie. the principles of flight) came from the observation of birds that first accessed the heavens.
An even greater miracle happened in the spiritual realm on the fifth day of the Redemptive Week. In Ephesians the apostle Paul marvels that, as a result of the cross, for the very first time, the way was opened for us to access heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Christians no longer needed to be spiritually earth-bound for there is now an open heaven. “…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2: 4-6).
Symbolically, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom and the way into God’s presence was opened for all to access. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came in the form of a mighty wind. “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2: 2). Just as birds soar into the heavens on the power of the wind so also we should allow the Holy Spirit to lift us into higher realms in Christ (NB. Ephesians 1: 17-23).
On this fifth day the world’s population, as well as the number who were added to Christ’s kingdom, began to multiply greatly. In Genesis 1: 22. God said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” Consistently, throughout the book of Acts, it uses similar language, telling us that the church was blessed and the numbers, began to grow and multiply rapidly in those early days. God’s life was released to the church, bringing ‘blessing, fruitfulness and increase’(Consider Acts 2: 41, 4: 4, 5:14 and 6: 7, etc.). For the Bible scholar who likes to consider the anti-types in the Old Testament that foreshadow the events of the New Testament era, we find that again God uses the same language in Exodus 1: 7, as he does in Genesis 1:20, to describe the great number that He redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, “…the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.”
F. DAY 6
Beasts of the Earth & Living Creatures / Mankind created in God’s Image.
On the sixth day of creation God first created all the land animals. He made the beasts of the fields and living creatures of every kind before creating man in His own image. Finally, he made a woman as an equal companion for the man and joined them together in the first recorded marriage. This is why it is customary for the father of the bride to lead the bride down the aisle and present her to the groom. God presented the woman to Adam (Genesis 2:22).
This past millennium (or Day 6 of the Redemptive Week) has seen the coming together and forming of most nations and even great kingdoms throughout the earth. Many wars have broken out between them and we’ve even seen World Wars. Jesus prophesied all this would happen towards the end of time “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24: 7). The Bible depicts the nations and world kingdoms allegorically as living creatures (usually animals or beasts - some nations have been particularly aggressive with beast-like characters). For example, in Daniel chapter seven we observe a number of them arising from ‘the great sea of humanity. For Daniel, this prophecy clearly applied to the kingdom of Babylon and the kingdoms that would follow. However, Daniel also speaks quite a lot about the kingdoms that will arise at the end of time during this sixth day. Finally, in the book of Revelation, the ‘Kingdoms of this World’ reach their climax with that frightful ‘Beast’ who is portrayed in Chapter thirteen, as the ‘Kingdom of God’ is unfolding.
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, 'Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him'?"(Revelation 13:1-4).
The final masterpiece of God’s creative work, on Day Six, was the creation of mankind. All of creation that preceded this event was really leading up to this ultimate purpose. Adam and his bride Eve were united together and given dominion over all. Once again, everything that has happened throughout the six days of the Redemptive Week has been leading up to God’s ultimate purpose of another marriage, the union of Christ and His church (His bride). The apostle Paul quotes from Genesis 2: 24, when he writes, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”. “This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church”.
At the end of the sixth day God will have a bride that has been prepared for His Son; a bride comprised of millions of saints who have lived down through the ages who have been cleansed and redeemed. Notice what Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”. A man always wisely chooses a bride that he sees as his equal, so also will Christ. Man was made in the image of God in the beginning and once again we are to be changed into that image with His divine nature. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19: 7&8). Mankind will once again be joined with God in perfect fellowship. What a great mystery! What an everlasting reward!
THE CREATIVE WEEK AND OUR SPIRITUAL WALK
During the days of creation numerous times God looked at the things He had created and commented that it was good; the light, the trees and wonderful plant life, the expanse of the heavens, the birds and abundance of sea creatures, and finally, the wonderful animals and creatures on the land. Every time the scripture says, “And God saw that it was good”. However, when he completed the cap-stone of his creation, by creating the man and woman in his image and giving them dominion over all, God saw all that he had made and it was "very good”. At the end of the ‘Redemptive Week’, I’m sure God will again look at what He has created and say that it is very good, maybe outstanding this time!
G. DAY 7
The Millennium – A Day of Rest.
God has reserved His ‘Day of Rest’ at the end of the ‘Redemptive Week’, as He did in the ‘Creative Week’- 1,000 years of rest from his labours. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan and bound him for a thousand years’. He threw him into the Abyss…” “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20: 2-6). “There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:3-9).
Not only does the ‘Creation Week’ in Genesis reveal much concerning God’s wonderful purposes through time and man’s history it also relates directly to God’s covenant purposes in our Christian walk. In many scriptures of the New Testament, the apostles (particularly the apostle John) compare our spiritual life in Christ with aspects of the Creative Week.
1. Light Shines out of Darkness (ie. New spiritual birth)
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4: 6).
2. Separation from the old by water (ie. Baptism)
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as
Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new
life” (Romans 6; 3-6; 2 Peter 3: 5-11).
3. Seed planted (God’s Word) & Fruitfulness (Gift of the Holy Spirit)
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere
love for the brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born
again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word
of God” (1 Peter 1; 22 7 23).
“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil
is the man who hears the word and understands it” (Matthew 13: 23).
“that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that
we might bear fruit to God” (Romans 7: 4). “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law….” (Galatians 5: 22-25).
We have come into full membership and privileges of God’s Family. (Ephesians 3).
4. We Walk in the Ever Increasing Light of God.
“…the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn shining ever brighter till the
full light of day” (Proverbs 4: 18). Growing constantly in character & knowledge.
5. Effective soul winners (Fishers of men) and Abundant Life in Christ.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19 & 20). Reaching the lost and discipling.
“…and has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in
Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2: 6).
6. Man in God’s Likeness.
“…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity......” (Hebrews 6: 1-3).
7. Enter into Complete Rest.
The longer we walk with the Lord the more we REST in him and trust in his
eternal promises. “For we who have believed do enter into rest.” (Hebrews 4: 3).
We will also eventually enter into and enjoy that final Day of Rest with God.
H. FINAL COMMENT
My prayer for everyone who has read this article is that they will come to a greater appreciation of the Creator God himself; a God who loves to confound the wise by revealing His wisdom in simplicity and what may appear foolishness to an intellectual person.
When we consider the wonderful stories in the Bible like Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Samson & Delilah, Jonah and the Whale, great stories that have been loved by children through the ages, they also contain amazing wisdom for those who are prepared to dig a little deeper. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1: 25). Only our God could be so wise to be so foolish! The gospel is for all who will come to Him, but we need to come to Him in simple, child-like faith and repentance. My prayer is that through reading this article, every reader will search out the Creator for themselves, to come to know Him personally. When we commit our lives to Him we become a part of His wonderful, eternal plan for our lives. Phil Baird, 2017