What Happens When Death is Destroyed?

TODAY’S READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14-16

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26

Death will one day be destroyed.

Notice Paul did not say the dead will be destroyed.

He said “death” will destroyed.

Death is a ruler, authority, cosmic power of the present darkness,  and a spiritual force of evil in the heavenly. Therefore, death is an enemy of God.

The dead are flesh and blood, mankind. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Since our enemies are God’s enemies, we are not God’s enemies.

You are probably questioning that I just said we are not God’s enemies. Because Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies…” implying that we were enemies of God. And, James 4:4 says, “Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

But, we are only enemies of God in a specific place for a specific reason.

What is the place we were enemies of God?

Colossians 1:21 says, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind.” The Greek word for hostile is the same word translated enemy. In fact, this Greek word is used 32 times in the New Testament and is translated enemy 30 of those times. Further, the word is plural in Colossians 1:21. So, the verse could be read, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in the mind.”

We are enemies to God in our minds.

For what reason our minds enemies to God?

Also, Romans 8:7 says that the mind of the flesh, an enemy to God, is not subject to the law of God because it is not able to be subject. Because in fear of death, we were subjects to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:15).

Death has held our minds captive and made us enemies to God.

But, we ourselves are not enemies of God. Rather, we are prisoners of God’s enemies – Satan, sin, and death.

So, what happens when we freed, no longer prisoners of God’s enemies?

What happens when death is destroyed?

All are brought to life when death is destroyed.

Everything is brought to life when death is destroyed.

According to 1 Timothy 1:9-10, God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought lift and immortality to light through the gospel.”

The Greek word for abolished is the exact same Greek word Paul used to say “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Further, the word light is actually a verb in the passage above. And, the word men, which means “on the one hand” is not translated.

Therefore, Paul really said, “Jesus, destroying death on the one hand and giving light to life and immortality through the gospel.”

When death is destroyed, all that is left is light and immortality.

Or, as John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This leads me to first time the Greek word for death, thanatos, is used in the New Testament. Matthew 4:14-16 says, “So that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles -the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them light has dawned.”

The places before the hyphen are presented in an interesting way. We could see them as a chiasm.

A. The land of Zebulun

B. The land of Naphtali

C. The way of the sea

B’. The land beyond the Jordan

A.’ Galilee of the nations

The land of Zebulun was Galilee. And, Galilee had been taken over by all sorts of foreigners. Indeed, it was also known as Galilee of the gentiles because people from all nations of the world were living there at the time of Jesus.

Look at a map and you will see that indeed the land of Naphtali was the land beyond the Jordan.

The main point Matthew is making is that these lands, these people, were the way of the sea. And, it is these people, those who are the way of the sea that dwell in darkness and dwell in the region and shadow of death. But, these same people have seen a great light and on them light has dawned.

But, what should all of this remind us of?

“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanses from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there wa morning, the second day.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. And i was. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:2-10)

We can see the dry land as Israel and the gathered waters, the seas, as the way of the sea, the gentiles. The light was commanded to shine forth., The land, Israel appeared. And, Israel was to be the light, revealing God to the nations. Of course, Israel failed to do this. So, when we can also see Genesis 1 as Christ being the light shining forth to both Israel and the gentiles. And, as I have written elsewhere, we can see the first three days of creation as a witness to Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

What was the result of the first days of creation?

Life.

“Let the earth sprout forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” (Genesis 1:11)

And, on each successive, God creates more and higher forms of life.

Once the light shines in the darkness, life increases and increases. This expansion of life does not end until on the seventh day God rested from his work, his bringing life to the entire creation.

But, we should note that on the first six days of creation we read, “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” But, we never read this about the seventh. In other words, the seventh day has no end.

In other words, life goes on forever. Eternal life.

The story starts the earth was formless and void, shrouded in darkness. Death was everywhere. But, the Spirit was hovering over the darkness, over death, like a mother hen ready to give birth, to bring forth life.

Then light shines in the darkness. Darkness was separated. Light overcame the darkness. But, that light was shining forth from life.

By the end of the story, there are no more turnings from evening to morning. No more turnings from death to life. The seventh day, the day of rest, goes on without end.

Life goes on without end.

Eternal life.

This has been the plan for all creation, the true kingdom of God, from the very beginning.

Life without end for the whole creation is what happens when death is destroyed.

What Are the Word and the Name the Apostles Taught?

TODAY’S READING: ACTS 4-5

“‘And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” – Acts 4:29-31

What was the word the apostles were teaching?

What was the name the apostles were teaching?

The obvious answer is Jesus.

But, what does it mean that the apostles were teaching the word of Jesus and in the name of Jesus?

One thing that we know is that whatever this word and name they were teaching in angered the priests, the scribes, and the other Jewish leaders.

“And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed…And they arrested them and put them in custody.” – Acts 4:1-2, 3

“But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” – Acts 4:17

“And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them.” – Acts 4:21

“But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.” – Acts 5:17

“When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.” – Acts 5:33

“And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”- Acts 5:40

Take a good look at what the priests, the scribes, the Sadducees, and the Jewish authorities were doing.

  1. They were greatly annoyed at what the apostles were teaching.
  2. They arrested the apostles.
  3. They warned the apostles not to continue teaching the word and the name.
  4. They further threatened the apostles.
  5. They were filled with jealousy.
  6. They arrested the apostles a second time.
  7. They were enraged.
  8. They wanted to kill the apostles.
  9. They beat the apostles.

The actions of the Jewish authorities in these two chapters are in direct contrasts to the apostles.

“If we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this has been healed.”- Acts 4:9

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” -Acts 4:12

“But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.” – Acts 4:14

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord of Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” – Acts 4:33

“Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.” – Acts 5:12

“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” – Acts 5:14

“They people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”- Acts 5:16

“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” – Acts 5:20

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” – Acts 5:41

Take a good look at what the apostles were doing and teaching.

  1. They did a good deed, healing a crippled man.
  2. They taught the name by which men and women are saved.
  3. The man they healed remained with them.
  4. They taught the resurrection, the going from death to life, of Jesus.
  5. They did many signs and wonders, which clearly means healings in the context of these two chapters.
  6. They added to the Lord, which means they brought people to life.
  7. They healed every sick person and all those afflicted with unclean spirits that were brought to them.
  8. They taught the words of the Life.
  9. They rejoiced at their persecution because they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus.

There is quite a stark contrast between the apostles and the Jewish authorities.

The Jewish authorities reacted the way they did because what they taught was different than the word and the name the apostles were teaching. In fact, we could say that what the Jewish authorities taught was the complete opposite of the word and the name that the apostles taught.

Do you see what the fundamental distinction is?

The Jewish authorities did and taught death.

The apostles did and taught life.

The Jewish authorities believed that God was both life and death. Therefore, they believed they were doing the works of God by putting the unworthy and the blaspheming of God to death.

The apostles believed that God was life and life only. Therefore, they healed everyone who was sick and afflicted that was brought to them.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul sums these two ways of ministering and teaching.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Who were the ones filled with the Holy Spirit?

The apostles.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” – Acts 4:31

Therefore, the apostles did and taught life. This is the word and the name they taught.

Who were the ones that taught the letter?

The Jewish authorities.

Therefore, in the end, everything they did was about death.

“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14-16

Whose minds were hardened? Who had not come to the Lord?

The Jewish authorities.

They read the Old Testament with a veil over it. They could not see the real nature of God in it. Therefore they taught it literally, meaning that God was both life and death.

Who had come to the Lord? For who was the veil lifted?

The apostles.

They read the Old Testament without a veil. They could read it clearly because Christ had taken the veil away. They saw God in the Old Testament as life and life only.

How did the Christ do this for them?

“By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.” – Acts 4:11

The apostles had come to know that death was defeated. Jesus was dead, but God had raised him to life.

“This Jesus…you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” – Acts 2:23-24

“For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20

What had the apostles seen and heard?

“That which was from the beginning, which we heard, which he have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you.” – 1 John 1:1-3

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5

In other words, God is life and there is no death in him at all.

“God is love…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” – 1 John 4:16, 18

Therefore, an angel of the Lord said to the apostles, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

The word that the apostles taught was life.

Never death.

Always and only life.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:68

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.”

Life is the word the apostles heard from Jesus. And, life is the word they taught.

Therefore, they taught in the name of Jesus. The fruit of teaching in the name of Jesus was salvation and healing. Salvation and healing are life.

This should come as no surprise.

Jesus is the Author of life.

Jesus is savior.

Jesus is the English version of the Greek name that is Joshua. Joshua means Jehovah saves.

Jesus’ very name means he saves, he heals, he gives life.

So, how in the world do we ever get it in our minds that he will do something other than heal, save, and give life?

How do we ever think that Jesus is going to come back and kill, send people to hell, burn them in eternal torment and destruction?

The veil has not been removed.

The Bible is read by the letter, literally.

Death has not been defeated.

For those that teach this way, it is as if God has not raise Jesus from the dead.

Jesus Has Created It – What Is “It”?

TODAY’S READING: ISAIAH 41-43

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water. and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the place and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” – Isaiah 41:17-20

We know that the Holy One of Israel is Jesus. Speaking of Jesus, in Luke 1:35, the angel told Mary, “Therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” In Luke 1:49, Mary sang, “Holy is his name.” And, in John 6 many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and stopped following him. So, he asked the twelve if they wanted to leave him too. In John 6:68-69, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

In addition, we know that this passage is about something that Jesus does because the Holy One of Israel created. In Jesus: The Creator, I wrote that God is the only subject of the verb bara, to create. And, in the New Testament, we see the power of creating is identified with Jesus. Everything was made by and through Jesus.

So, we know that this passage speak to Jesus creating. He creates it.

But, what is it?

What is Jesus creating?

In this passage the poor and needy are seeking water. And, God says he is going to bring a bunch of water and trees. So, are we to understand that Jesus is creating physical water and physical trees in answer to the thirst of the poor and needy? Is this what the poor and needy “may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this?”

Or, is the passage speaking to something much deeper, something beyond the physical, something spiritual?

I believe when you study the the word bara, to create, you will find that it does not really have to do with the physical creation of something. Rather, it has to do with the giving of purpose, how something functions.

Consider David’s plea to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Was David asking for God to physically create a new heart within him? Of course not. David was asking that his old heart, which functioned in the manner of lies and murder, would be created clean. That is, David wanted his old heart, which did the wrong thing and functioned in the wrong way, to be given a new purpose and new function, one that was clean, by God. This is just one example of many in the Old Testament where the word bara speaks to function and purpose and not physically making something.

So, what is it that Jesus has purpose and functioned?

We know that the poor and needy are thirsty, seeking water, and that Jesus will answer them and not forsake them.

This brings to mind Jesus’ encounter at the well with the Samaritan woman. In John 4:13-14, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

It also brings to mind what Jesus said in John 7:37-38. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

Jesus said drinking physical water will leave you thirsty. So, he is giving a different kind of water, spiritual water, that when you drink it you will never thirst again. This spiritual is a spring of water is eternal life. And, when we come to Jesus and drink this spiritual water, it will flow out of hearts like rivers of living water.

Back to the passage in Isaiah, we can then understand that the poor and needy will not be forsaken by Jesus. Jesus will open rivers and fountains and make pools and springs. In other words, there are those that will be desperate for life and Jesus will give it to them.

We know that when Jesus is speaking of the water that he gives that he is speaking of eternal life. But, more specifically, he is speaking of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 44:3 says, “For I will pour out my water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Here the water Jesus gives is equated with the Holy Spirit and the thirsty and dry land with people.

But, notice there are four types of water and places mentioned in Isaiah:

  1. rivers on the bare heights
  2. fountains in the midst of valleys
  3. a pool of water in the wilderness
  4. springs of water in the dry land

So, whether it is a high place or low, whether it is the grassy plain or the desert, Jesus is going to fill these four places with water, not physical water, but spiritual water.  But, the number four symbolizes the entire creation in scripture.

So, what is Jesus creating here? What is he purposing? What is he “functioning”?

I believe this is a picture of Jesus filling the earth, all creation, with his Spirit, with the knowledge of himself.

Habakkuk 2:14 says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

The same words are found in Isaiah 11:9, which says, “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

So, we seeing Jesus pouring out his Spirit to give knowledge of the Lord to the whole earth, all of creation. Jesus said that this was the reason the Holy Spirit would come – “he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” and “when the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” and “he will glorify me.”

So, what is the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit who fill the earth with the knowledge of God?

According to our passage in Isaiah, trees will sprout up in the wilderness and desert. But, all throughout the Bible, trees represent people. And notice the number of types of trees that will come forth:

  1. cedar
  2. acacia
  3. myrtle
  4. olive
  5. cypress
  6. plane
  7. pine

Seven types of trees will come forth from all this water filling the creation. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection.

So, when we combine all these pictures, what we see is that Jesus gives purpose and function as he pours out his Spirit upon the whole creation, and it is this pouring out of his Spirit that spiritually perfects mankind as he is filled with eternal life.

This is it.

This is what Jesus created.

This what the poor and needy “may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this.”

It’s not about physical trees and water that Jesus is creating. Ultimately, this does nothing for the poor and needy. Rather, Jesus is creating life and spirit within all creation and mankind.

Jesus said in John 6:63-64, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Creation: A Witness to Jesus

In addition to the written teaching below, here’s the audio to tonight’s CUMO Mid-Week Bible Study.

Creation-A Witness to Jesus

To go along with this week’s study, I prepared a chart to make it easier to follow along with the teaching. You may want to print it out for easier viewing as you read or listen to the teaching.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF GENESIS 1?

Genesis 1. The account of creation.

Why is it in the Bible?

What was the point of Moses writing, “In the beginning, God created…”? Why did Moses write about creation the way he did?

Was it written so that we would all be creationists, taking the account literally and matching it up with science, proving that God did in fact create everything? If so, then how many creationists believe in and espouse a flat earth supported by pillars with a dome on top of it? For, that is what the account of creation (as seen elsewhere besides Genesis 1) and the science of the Bible say.

Was it written to tell us, to help us know and understand, the scientific processes by which God created the universe? “See, first God created light, which is energy. He did this because you need energy before anything else. Then…”

Was it written to tell us the age of the universe and, therefore, the earth? Was it written so that we would have ammunition to defend a belief in a young earth because God created in seven literal days or an old earth because we found a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that would for billions of years to have taken place?

Job 38:1-4 says, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is it that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you…”

And, for two chapters, God mocks the debate between Job and his friends with question after question regarding Job’s knowledge about how God created the heavens and the earth and how he maintains different aspects of his creation.

Therefore, to understand the story of creation in Genesis 1, we need to remember what the Bible is and is not. First, the Bible is not a science book. Treating it, and in particular Genesis 1, as if it is about science creates an argument that is a distraction to the real purpose of the account of creation and the Bible. Instead of being a book of geology, biology, ecology, exogeology, etc., the Bible is a book of theology. It is a book by which we study God. Therefore, the Bible is a revelation of who God is. And, in Jesus’ own words, it is a book that bears witness of him (John 5:39-40).

So, the point of Genesis 1, the reason it was written, is that we would know God and have a witness to Jesus.

GOD CREATED

The first thing the Bible tells us about God is that he is a creator. This tells us something very special about God as he is the only one that ever creates in the Bible (a study of the Hebrew and Greek words for “create” will show this, but that is another teaching).

So, what did God create?

Let’s look at just the first three days of creation in Genesis 1. You will understand why I want to focus on the first three days below.

On day one, God said, “Let there be light.” God separated light from darkness.

On day two, God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters.” God created an expanse, or a firmament, that separated the waters above from the waters below.

On day three, God said, “Let the waters under the havens be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear.” God separated the seas and the dry land appeared.

So, on the first three days, God brought forth light, a firmament, and dry land. All were brought forth through a process of separation. God creates by separating.

GOD’S INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES

Romans 1:19-20 says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

So, God has invisible attributes. Paul says these attributes are God’s eternal power and divine nature. Further, these invisible attributes have been known since the creation of the world. “The creation of the world.” That’s Genesis 1. So, somewhere in the six days of creation (I would argue the first three) we should be able to know, or clearly perceive, God’s invisible attributes.

Do you clearly perceive them? I didn’t think so.

To do so, we need to get more specific about exactly what are God’s invisible attributes. I propose there are three.

  1. God is light. According to 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
  2. God is love. According to 1 John 4:8, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
  3. God is life. According to 1 John 5:20, “He is the true God and eternal life.”

As you read, remember the order that 1 John lists God’s invisible attributes – light, love, life.

Now that you know God’s invisible attributes, do you clearly perceive them in Genesis 1? I will give you light, but I doubt you see the other two.

JOHN: THE NEW GENESIS

To see God’s invisible attributes in creation, we need to understand that the gospel of John is the new Genesis. How so?

Genesis 1 starts “in the beginning” which is followed by a series of days. Just like Genesis 1, John 1 starts “in the beginning”. But, did you know that “in the beginning” in the the gospel of John is also followed by a series of days? Maybe you haven’t noticed because the days are spread out over several chapters instead of clustered together like Genesis 1. This is John’s clue that he is writing a new Genesis about a new creation.

Further, when we understand that John is writing the new Genesis and we read the Bible in the language of Son, with the understanding that the entire Bible is a witness to Jesus, then we understand why Genesis 1 was written. It’s real purpose is to bear witness to Jesus.

So, let’s compare the account of creation in Genesis with the account in the gospel of John.

Day 1

In Genesis, on day one God calls forth light and separates it from darkness.

On day one, John 1:4-5, 7-9 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it…He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not that light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”

On the first day of John’s gospel there was light. And, when the light shined in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it, light and darkness were separated. John tells us that this light is Jesus, equating Jesus with the light called forth on the first day of creation.

Therefore, the first day established light as one of God’s invisible attributes that could be known through creation.

Day 2

In Genesis, on day two, God made the firmament and separated the waters above from the waters below.

John 1:29-34 details the second day in John’s gospel. Verses 29 and 31-33 say, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John bore witness: ‘I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”‘”

So, Jesus, the Lamb of God, gets baptized on day two of John’s gospel. Jesus’ body went down into the water and separated the water. Jesus’ baptism, in which the body of the Lamb of God separated the waters, links day two of John’s gospel with the waters being separated on day two of Genesis.

Throughout the Bible, waters being separated represents baptism.

Exodus 14:22 says, “And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right and on their left.”

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 that this was Israel’s baptism. “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

Therefore, when we read that the waters were separated on day two in Genesis we should immediately think of baptism. But, what separated the waters in Genesis? The firmament, which is key to linking Jesus’ baptism on the second day in John’s gospel with the “baptism” that took place on the second day in Genesis 1.

To see the connection, recall that baptism is symbolic of death. On the second day of John’s gospel, John the Baptist declares Jesus to be the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus, the lamb of God, that was baptized and symbolically died on day of two of John’s gospel, fulfilled this symbolism when he died on the cross.

On the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, breathed his last, and yielded up his spirit. Right then, according to Matthew 27:51, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Now we have a connection between Jesus’ baptism, his death on the cross as the lamb of God, and the veil being torn in the temple.

What was the veil? The veil was what separated (there’s that creative word again) the holy place from the most holy place, the place of God’s presence. The priests were allowed into the holy place, but only the high priest, and that once a year with an offering of blood, was allowed beyond the veil into God’s presence. Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is the high priest that took an offering of his own blood beyond the veil into the presence of God. Here is another connection between Jesus’ body and the veil.

What does this have to do with the waters being separated by the firmament in Genesis?

Psalm 78:69 says, “He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever.” The psalmist is saying that God built his earthly tabernacle, the one Moses built, which was patterned exactly after the heavenly one, think Jesus, just like he built creation. In the tabernacle, there was a veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place, the place of God’s presence. This veil is just like firmament in that separated the earth from the heavens, the place of God’s presence. So, now we have a connection between the veil and the firmament to go with our connection between Christ’s body and the veil.

But, to drive the point home even further, Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above [the same word as firmament or expanse in Genesis 1] proclaims his handiwork.” The firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. What is God’s handiwork? Hebrews 10:5 says, “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you not desire, but a body have you prepared for me.'” The firmament proclaims the work of God’s hand, which is Jesus, the lamb of God to be offered up for the sins of the world. Like Jesus’ death tore the veil giving us access to the most holy place, so to did Jesus’ death tear the firmament, reconnecting the heavens and the earth.

So, the second day in Genesis is linked with the second day of John’s gospel through baptism and the crucifixion of the Lamb of the God.

(As an aside, have you ever noticed that God did not call anything that happened on day two good in Genesis? I believe that is because this day spoke prophetically of the death of God’s son.)

So, how does this reveal one of God’s invisible attributes on the second day of creation?

1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” And, 1 John 4:9-10, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The death of Jesus, the event of day two of John’s gospel and Genesis, is how we know love.

Therefore, the second day established love as one of God’s invisible attribute that could be known through creation.

Day 3

In Genesis, on day three, God gathered the waters below and the dry land appeared.

Finding the equivalent of day three in John’s gospel gets a little tricky.

John 1:35 says, “Again, the next day…”

John 1:43 says, “The following day…”

John 2:1 says, “On the third day…”

We need to know two things about John. First, he uses a lot of symbolism in his writings. Second, John is not writing an historical account of Jesus like we would today. In John 20:31, he tells us exactly why he wrote the gospel, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John is writing more a theological treatise than an historical account.

Given those two points, it is important to note that John 2:1 is the only place that any of the days in John’s gospel is numbered. This is important because when you read through the Bible you will notice that an incredibly large number of events happen on the third day.

Given the great theological significance of the third day, it is not by chance that John marked out this day in John 2 with a number. By specifically identifying this as the third day, John is telling you to pay very careful attention to what happens on it.

John 2:1 says, “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.” This is familiar story. Jesus, his mother, and his disciples attended a wedding where they ran out of wine. One thing led to another, and Jesus tells the servants to fill six water pots with water, which he turned into wine. John 2:9-10 says, “When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine…the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept good wine until now.'”

Jesus turned water, which is ordinary but necessary for life, into wine, which is much sweeter and richer than wine, or better life. Wine, because it is sweeter and richer than water, is often a symbol of spiritual revival. While we are alive right now, Jesus gives us eternal life through the resurrection. Day three of John’s gospel is speaking to the resurrection of Jesus and the new life he gives. This is why John 2:11 says, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory [eternal life]. And his disciples believed in him.” This first miracle, turning water into wine, was such a big deal to the disciples precisely because it spoke to Jesus’ resurrection and the eternal life he would give.

We see more support for the connection between the third day of John’s gospel and Genesis in Psalm 104. This psalm is a retelling of the days of creation.

  • Day 1 – verses 1-2
  • Day 2 – verses 3-4
  • Day 3 – verses 5-18
  • Day 4 – verses 19-23
  • Day 5 – verses 24-26
  • Day 6 – verses 27-30
  • Day 7 – verses 31-35

What happens on day three in this psalm? Verses 14-15 say, “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.” The psalmist writes that on day three of creation there was “wine to gladden the heart of man.” That’s exactly what Jesus did on day three of John’s gospel.

Further, in Isaiah 25, the Lord prepares a feast for those that have come out of the city of confusion. Isaiah 25:6 says, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.”

Aged wine is better tasting wine. This is what the master of the feast said about the wine Jesus served. And, this is the wine that the Lord serves to those that come out of the city of confusion, to those enter new life.

I should note also that in Genesis it said the waters were gathered and the dry land appeared. In a sense, the dry land came up out of the water, speaking to new life or resurrected life after death or baptism. But, it very specifically says that the dry land appeared. Jesus appeared on the third day to his disciples on the third day after his death.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” People have long struggled with what Paul meant as there is no one scripture that says Jesus would rise on the third day. But, could Paul be referring to Genesis 1?

Therefore, the third day established life as God’s attribute that could be known through creation.

Now we see how creation has made known the invisible attributes of God. And, when we put them all together:

When the light of God shines on the love of God it produces the life of God.

Also, we can read what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:15-20 in even greater wonder.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn form the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.”

As we have seen from all of the above, Jesus is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation.

JESUS IS LIGHT, LOVE, AND LIFE

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Light and truth are closely related throughout scripture. As examples, see Psalm 43:3, John 3:21, 1 John 1:6.

Love is taking an action on behalf of another at the expense of oneself. Love is giving of oneself. God and Jesus are gratuitously self-giving. They do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Love is the way Jesus has lived from before the foundation of the world.

Jesus is eternal life.

Do you see what Jesus is saying in John 14:6?

I am the way, the truth, and the life is the same as saying I am love, light, and life.

When the truth of Christ shines on the love of Christ we get the life of Christ.

Jesus makes another similar statement in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

What is the resurrection? It is Christ raised life after defeating death by forgiving us for our murdering him. The resurrection is light shining on love, the truth shining on the way, which leads to life.

WHAT CREATION SAYS ABOUT YOU AND ME

In the first sermon preached, Peter told the Jews that they crucified Jesus, the one who is the Messiah, the one who was sent from God to be their king. But, death couldn’t hold him and he was raised to life. The people that heard Peter’s preaching were cut to the heart and asked what they should do.

In Acts 2:38-39, Peter answered, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

What is repenting?

A change of mind. Understanding. Light.

What is being baptized?

Paul tells us fully in Romans 6:3-11, but the short answer is baptism is being baptized into Christ’s death, which is how we know God’s love.

What is forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit?

The life of God. The life of Jesus. God’s forgiveness knows no end. That Jesus forgave us for killing him is how he defeated death and was resurrected to life.

So, repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit are the same as light, love, and life.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But, it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

Another way to think of ourselves and creation is being transformed and conformed.

Paul writes of the veil being removed and the light of the gospel shining out of the darkness into our hearts. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, he writes, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Then, in Romans 12:2, Paul writes, “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The Greek word for transformed is where we get our word for metamorphosis. That is to go from state of being to a completely different state of being.

To be transformed is to repent and be baptized!

What are being transformed into?

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

One turns to the Lord and the veil is removed – repentance, light. Being transformed – baptized. Into the same image. Being conformed to the same image as Jesus, the son of God, life.

In Romans 8:29, Paul writes that we are predestined to be conformed to image of God’s son so that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. We are to have the same attributes as Jesus – light, love, and life.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 sums all that I have written above:

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them [forgiveness], and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

God’s creation made known his invisible attributes – light, love, and life. That creation bears witness that Jesus is the image of these attributes. He is the way, the truth, and the life or the resurrection and the life. If we repent, are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, then we are in Christ and therefore a new creation of light, love, and life. As new creations, we have been given the same ministry of reconciliation as Christ. Therefore, we are his ambassadors.