31.12.07

The Last and the First

As this is the last day of the year, it is a fitting time to post on some thoughts on one of the "firsts" in the Bible.

I have recently finished another two year journey through the Scriptures (a few days ahead of schedule :-)), and have promptly embarked upon another such journey of instruction and revelation. No matter how many times you read the word, there is always more to learn. So with the year, and with my reading plan, the end becomes a new beginning.

So it is too in the purpose of God. He is the eternal Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end. There are no dispensations in the one eternal plan of God, but there are times and seasons and years. When God brings something to an end, he is really bringing something else to a new beginning. We see this clearly in the days of creation...

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
...

The end of one day leads straight into the beginning of the next. These were not disconnected isolated periods in creation, but stages in an overall plan. Thus ends and beginnings are interwoven and integrally connected in the single unfolding kingdom purpose of God.

As I have been reading and mediating again on the first few chapters of Genesis I have spotted another such "end-beginning" which (for me) was quite fresh! It centres on what I believe is the first prophecy in the Bible...

The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. (Ge 3:20)

It occurred to me that Eve was not called "Eve" before the fall! (You can verify this for yourself if you like.) Before this she was called "Ishshah" - "Woman", corresponding to "Adam" - "Man". So it is only after the fall that "Man" and "Woman" become Adam and Eve.

However, although the fall was a catastrophic "end" in the innocent untarnished relationship between man and God, it was not the end to God's plan for man. It did not even cause him to dig out a plan 'B'! It was just a dark "evening" after which a new morning was coming.

God immediately lays out his redemption plan for mankind. Even in the darkness of the curse we see the good news of the Gospel shine forth...

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Ge 3:15)


God promises an offspring of the woman who will crush the serpent's head, and reverse the curse that has only just been invoked. A promise of a new beginning of life even amidst the self-inflicted consequences of death.

And this is where this first preaching of the gospel is followed by the first response to the gospel. For Adam, who had only just failed so badly in his relationship to both his wife and God, now grasps hold of the hope in God's plan for his kind. He prophetically changes his wife's name from Ishshah - "Woman" to Eve - "Life", on the basis that she "was the mother of all living," before she had ever given birth.

And so the evening of death is followed swiftly by a new dawn of life. And prophetically foreshadowing the resurrection dawn of Christ himself, God responds to Adam's faith in the midst of his sin, by a substitutionary sacrifice that makes a covering for both him and his wife.

So Adam ensured that his wife went forwards from that day, not under a cloud of condemnation of her role in the past, but with a new name and a new hope of her part in God's plan for the future.

Ephesians tells us that the relationship between a man and his wife, (thus in inception between Adam and Eve) is symbolic of a deeper mystery - that of Christ and the Church. As we go from the end of this year into the beginning of the next, let us do so with a prophetic sense of purpose of our part, as Christ's bride, in the eternal plan of God to bring his life to this world.

Happy New Year!

8 comments:

SLW said...

Chris,
I like this post on every level. The cherry on the top is that the first three chapters of Genesis are the most profound things ever set on paper, stone, clay or any media in my estimation.

I agree with you about dispensations as well. To me it has always been about faith, it still is, and will be until Jesus makes all things new. I never looked at Adam's response in renaming Eve as an act of faith before. Thanks, that's a piece in the puzzle that was missing for me.

The application/connection of Adam's action with the Ephesian passage is rich indeed. I'll have to weave that in to what I teach on the subject.

Excellent, Chris!

Chris HH said...

Thanks, SLW.

I appreciate the "amen", and it's good to know I still have some readers, even after a couple of months where I have been remiss in my blogging!

A very happy and blessed new year to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

2v21 - But for Adam [g] no suitable helper was found.

3v16 - To the woman...

3v17 - To Adam he said...

3v20 - Adam [c] named his wife Eve

Adam was 'Adam' before the fall.

Chris HH said...

That's right, Anonymous, he was.

Adam's name wasn't changed. But "adam" is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for man. So Adam's name was literally "Man" just as Eve's name (before Adam changed it) was literally "Woman".

Matthew Ling said...

Chris, I believe it was when he was last ministering with us that Keri Jones made the comment "things only end when God starts something new."

Chris HH said...

Yes he did. That was definitely in my mind as I was writing this post.

Richard Bentall said...

Chris

Like always its great to read your blog as it is full of riches.

When we talk of Alpha and Omega, we talk of time in the human sense however scriptures identifies God in time, yet a God that is somehow beyond time, not constrained by it the way we are (1 Peter 3). When God acted to create He entered into time, of necessity, now having a past and a present.

A tremendous comfort comes from knowing that God has always been in control and will never relinquish it. One might also draw a deeper comfort from knowing that God is in time with me right now, not unreachably transcendent, but right in this moment with me. And because He's in this moment He can act to respond to my needs and prayers but with such attributes of omnipotence and omniscience.

Every blessing

Richard

Traditional Family Resources said...

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Ge 3:15)

Chris, I too, have studied the Scriptures many years.

I have recently taken another look at this verse.

Realizing the Creator is explaining regarding Yeshua would be the savior of His people, yet, there is one more explained here.

I am beginning to see it was not the symbolism of the apple, but rather, was about the seed planted in Eve's womb.

This appears to have created a competition between two seperate entities.

We are witness of this great battle, even today.

I look forward to the day it reaches its final conclusion.

I will see you on the other side, where the real life begins.

The Lord has blessed,

Travis