Genesis 1

Table of Contents

Read/hear the portions: Genesis 1

Summary

God creates the world in six days. On the first day He makes darkness and light. On the second day He forms the heavens, dividing the “upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the third day He sets the boundaries of land and sea, and calls forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the fourth day He fixes the position of the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and illuminators of the earth. Fish, birds and reptiles are created on the fifth day; land animals, and then the human being, on the sixth. G‑d ceases work on the seventh day, and sanctifies it as a day of rest.—Chabad.org1

Videos

Genesis 1:1-1:19:

Genesis 1:20-2:3

Learn Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew:

Gen 1:1

Genesis 1:1References
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.John 1:1-4, 10 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made…. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
  • Last time, we looked at these seven profound words, the connection to John 1:1, and the fact that the world was made through Jesus, the  א and the ת.

  • The pattern of sevens is just getting started in this chapter!

Gen 1:2a

Genesis 1:2References
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.

Isa 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

Jeremiah 4:23  I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

  •  וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום

  • Veha’ARetz haytah TOhu vaVOhu, vCHOshech al p’nei t’home.

  • Walton notes the passage expresses the sense of “that which has not yet been differentiated and assigned function. No boundaries or definitions have been established.”2

  • The “Gap Theory”?

    • תֹּהוּ (tohu) is the word used in verse 2 for “waste, desolation, empty”. The same word is used in Isaiah 45:18, who says that God did NOT create the earth tohu.

    • There appears to be a contradiction.

    • From this the so-called “gap theory” has emerged – they see some type of gap between verses 1 and 2, where some type of judgment occurred.

    • To try to support this, a minority of scholars would say the verse could be translated, “BUT the earth HAD BECOME formless and void.”

      • In other words, God created the earth to be perfect, but there was some kind of judgment causing it to become formless, void, and dark.

      • This judgment then led to the recreation of the surface of the earth in six days.

      • Keil & Delitzsch reject this concept. “Tohu alone is frequently employed as synonymous with non-existence (not becoming non-existent).”3

    • It’s important to remember there is no life or death on earth until the Fall in chapter 3.

      • So, people who try to put dinosaurs into this “gap” to conform with modern hypotheses about what killed the dinosaurs or reconcile with evolutionary theory are misguided.

      • Potentially it is when Satan fell, but even this theory has problems.

    • Occam’s Razor tells us that the most straightforward explanation is usually the correct one.

      • The most straightforward explanation to reconcile Genesis 1:2 and Isaiah 45:18, is when God initially created the earth, He didn’t create it to be permanently formless and void (Isaiah).

      • It was momentarily formless, void, and dark (possibly only for a fraction of an instant) until the Ruach Elohim went into action.

    • I encourage readers to hold very loosely to any man-made theory about what is going on in Genesis 1-6. We just don’t have a very good concept of what life was like before the Flood and even less insight about what life was like before the Fall.

    • The Answers in Genesis site has an informative article on this topic: The Gap Theory – an Idea with Holes.

  • Note that God specifically created the darkness - Isa 45:7 I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.

  • The “deep” is a term surrounded in mystery.

    • Symbolically, the “deep” and “waters” suggest chaos (and were viewed as such by the ancients)

Gen 1:2b

Genesis 1:2References
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

1 Jn 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

Luk 4:17, 21 He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Gen Rabbah 1:2 “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” This was the Spirit of Messiah as it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him.”1

Mat 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.


  1. Daniel T. Lancaster, Shadows of the Messiah, ed. Boaz D. Michael and Steven P. Lancaster, 3rd ed., vol. 4, Torah Club 3 (Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2015), 6.↩︎

  • וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם

  • V’RUach Elohim m’raCHEphet al p’nei haMYim.

  • Many see the plural Elohim together with Ruach (breath, wind, spirit) as a hint of the Trinity.

    • While a plain reading of the text doesn’t suggest the Christian Trinity, it’s not an unfair “deeper meaning” extrapolation.

    • According to the Midrash, part of the Oral Torah we referenced previously, the Spirit of Elohim that hovered in Genesis 1:2 was the Spirit of Messiah; as their proof text, the rabbis quoted Isaiah 11, just as Jesus did.

    • In the previous lesson we established that Yeshua, the Aleph and the Tav, not only was present at the Creation, the Creation was achieved THROUGH Him.

    • We clearly have the Father, the Son, and the Spirit present at Creation

    • Interestingly, the complete passage in the Midrash references the following:

      • Without Form = Israel’s exile to Babylon

      • Void = Israel’s subjugation under Persia

      • Darkness = Israel’s harsh treatment under the Greeks

      • Deep = Israel’s conquest by the Romans

      • Waters = Israel’s repentance in exile

      • Spirit of God = Messiah’s redemption of Israel

    • This view parallels what we read in Daniel chapters 2 and 7, and throughout Revelation.

  • Waters = chaos

    • Heiser notes, “in the ancient world, the sea was a thing of dread. Unpredictable and untamable. The waters of the primeval deep must be calmed and restrained by God.”4

    • Lancaster writes, “When Messiah comes, He will transform the formless, the void, the darkness, the deep, and all the sorrows of this present age of exile into the light and joy of a new world and new creation.”5

    • When Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, it was not the first time God hovered above the chaos!

Gen 1:3-5 – Day One: Light

Genesis 1:3References
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Rev 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Joh 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

  • וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור

  • VaYOmer Elohim “y’hi or,” vayahi or.

  • Vayomer is the most frequently occurring verb in Hebrew – it means “and (he) said.

    • Vayomer Elohim means “and God said”
  • This is the first recorded statement of God.

  • This light is not the sun, which won’t be created for a few more days.

  • This is the Light from God Himself, the Light of the Messianic Age – the same light we saw in Revelation chapters 21 and 22, where we have no more need for the sun, moon, and the stars for light.

  • Also, note that the Light evidently will illuminate the entire earth at once.

    • **“**Rabbi Elazar said: The light that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created on the first day was not that of the sun but a different kind of light, through which man could observe from one end of the world to the other.”6
  • The entire Gospel of John has the themes of light versus darkness running through it;

    • John contrasts the Good Shepherd Jesus, versus the rejecting world, including the bad shepherds currently in control of the religious establishment.

    • Identical themes run through many of the Dead Sea Scrolls documents.

Genesis 1:4-5References

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.

2 Co 4:6 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.

Isa 60:1-2 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. [2] For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.

Joh 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Yalkut Shim’oni 11.499 This is the light of Messiah, as it is said, “God saw the light, that it was good.” Before the world was created, the Holy One, blessed by He, looked forward to the generation of Messiah. He hid the Light for Messiah beneath his throne of Glory.1


  1. Lancaster, Shadows of the Messiah, 4:8–9.↩︎

  • וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־הָאֹ֖ור כִּי־טֹ֑וב וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָאֹ֖ור וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ לָאֹור֙ יֹ֔ום וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר יֹ֥ום אֶחָֽד׃

  • Vayar Elohim et haor ki-tov. Vayavdale Elohim bane haor uvane hachoshech.

  • Vayiqra Elohim laor “yom,” v’lachoshech qara “laylah".

  • Vay’hi-erev, vay’hi voqer, Yom Echad.

  • The first of seven “it was good” statements is given to the Divine Light

    • This is the same light that will illuminate the Messianic Age (Revelation 21:23).
  • Jewish days begin and end at sundown – literally and symbolically, each day moves from darkness to light.

    • Our point of view is the opposite – light is swallowed up by the darkness (both daily, and at times metaphorically, when we see good being overtaken by evil).

    • “From God’s perspective, it is just the opposite. Day follows night, darkness is dispelled by light, evil is conquered by good, and death gives way to light.”7

    • Revelation chapters 19-22 give us the end of the story when the Light reigns.

      • In Revelation chapters 13-18, as well as Isaiah 60:2, we also see that while the coming of Messiah brings light to believers, it brings darkness to the wicked.
  • As we said in the introduction, the Person whom we might call the “Divine Narrator” (i.e., some manifestation of God dictating to Moses), is not “trying to give us a modern scientific explanation of the origin of all natural phenomena,” such as light. With that noted, Chuck Missler, who has an engineering background sees God instituting order and the physical laws of the planet throughout the creation days (increasing in magnitude and specificity on each of the successive days).

    • Erev, according to Missler, suggests increasing chaos and increasing entropy. Erev gives way to Boker, which suggests increasing order and decreasing entropy.8

    • On the 7th day, as God originally designed it, there is no more Erev or Boker. The creation is complete and perfect.

  • The surface, what we might call “plain text,” reading is about physical light and physical darkness, but throughout the Bible, most notably in John’s writings, we see spiritual light versus spiritual darkness. Those who can see spiritually versus those who are spiritually blind.

  • In Hebrew, this is a cardinal, not an ordinal number. Not “the first day” (which would have been yom rishon, but “day one”, yom echad.

  • Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew is relatively easy to memorize. I encourage it!

Gen 1:6-8 – Second Day: canopy above the earth; division of waters

Genesis 1:6-8References

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 expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Psa 74:13,15 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. [15] You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams.

2 Pe 3:4-5 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.

2Ch 2:6 But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?

  • There is no “it was good” for Monday!

  • This passage invites a discussion on what we know about our atmosphere and space – as we mentioned in an earlier lesson, we would refer anyone interested to answersingenesis.org or Chuck Missler’s materials for a deeper discussion.

  • In Hebrew, the word for sky and heaven is the same: shamayim. This is difficult because the sky we can see, space we can see (through a telescope) but that doesn’t mean we are looking into heaven where God dwells.

  • Solomon, in a moment of humility, acknowledged this in 2 Chronicles 2:6.

  • This makes God going out of His way to dwell with us all the more incredible.

Gen 1:9-13 - Third Day: land, seas, trees, vegetation

Genesis 1:9-10References

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.

God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Jer 5:22 Do you not fear me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
  • Each of the “it was good” statements contrast with how many ancients viewed the natural world.

  • To them the world was often unstable and threatening, such as when there were storms, floods, fire, droughts or earthquakes. The gods they had associated with these natural elements were seen as having the ability to be angered unless they were appeased in some way.

  • Walton says, “That it was all ‘good’ reflects God’s wisdom and justice.”9

Genesis 1:11-13References

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

1Co 15:38-39 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. [39] For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.

Heb 6:7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.

  • The third day receives two “it was good” commendations.

    • Perhaps, this is a hint of the many blessings and other significant events that will occur on the “third day” throughout the Bible.
  • Missler sees Job 38 as a parallel passage for the Third Day of Creation.10

Gen 1:14-19 – Fourth Day: sun, moon, stars, times, seasons

Genesis 1:14-15References

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,

and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

Deu 4:19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Rom 1:25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

  • Ancient cultures looked up at the sky in wonderment. They concluded that there must be a sun-god who controls the sun, a moon-god who controls the moon, and later a rain-god who controls the rain and so forth.

  • The Bible refutes this directly.

    • The Bible clearly teaches monotheism, which was in stark contrast to all of the other ancient cultures.

    • “Nature, despite all its beauty and splendor, is not to be worshipped or considered as God.”11

    • There is only one Creator. Everything else is the creation, and therefore beneath than the Creator.

    • Deuteronomy 4 reminds us that only God is to be worshipped.

    • We may find it silly to bow down to worship a wooden idol of a sun god, yet we may pursue a job at the expense of all other things, or we save up for that car we have to have, or we tell ourselves that if only we had {x}, then we would be happy. This is worshipping the creation just as much as bowing down to a sun-god.

    • Paul in Romans 1 uses an interesting example of worshipping the creation. While it’s easy to point fingers at the sexual perversion around us (and I’m not saying we shouldn’t defend Biblical teaching on the subject in the right context), but let’s remember the things we do that are the equivalent of worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.

  • The Hebrew word for signs, is interestingly the same word for letter and has a cognate word in Akkadian that means “omen.”

    • As mentioned above, the other ancient societies feared the natural world and attributed such “unpredictability” to the gods behind the natural forces.

    • God is going out of His way to remove any personification of nature for His people.

    • Each day has a cycle of setting and a rising sun.

    • Each month has a cycle of the new moon to a full moon.

      • The Hebrew month begins on the new moon.

      • Just like the Hebrew day, the month begins in darkness and moves to light.

    • Each year has a cycle of the seasons, marked by the (apparent) movement in the sky of the sun, and in some cases the paths of planets visible to the naked eye.

    • And it was good.

Genesis 1:16-18aReferences

And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.

And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Psa 19:1-5 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
  • Perhaps to avoid having His people get confused with the sun-gods and the moon-gods of Israel’s neighbors, God avoid using names for the sun and the mood. They are only the greater light and the lesser light.

Heiser, Michael S. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. First edition. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. 2nd edition (E-Sword). Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2014.

Keil, C.F., and Franz Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes. E-Sword version. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publ., 1986.

Lancaster, D. Thomas. Unrolling the Scroll. Edited by Boaz Michael and Seth Dralle. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. 6 vols. Torah Club 1. Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2014.

Lancaster, Daniel T. Depths of the Torah. Edited by Boaz D. Michael and Steven P. Lancaster. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. 5 vols. Torah Club 4. Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2017.

———. Shadows of the Messiah. Edited by Boaz D. Michael and Steven P. Lancaster. 3rd ed. Vol. 4. 5 vols. Torah Club 3. Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2015.

Missler, Chuck. Genesis: An Expositional Commentary (Supplemental Notes). Coeur d’Alene, ID: Koinonia House, 2004.

Pliskin, Zelig. Love Your Neighbor: Brooklyn, New York: Bnay Yakov Publications, 2004.

Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. (E-Sword). Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2000.

“Bereishit in a Nutshell.” Chabad.Org. Accessed August 7, 2022. https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3137/jewish/Bereishit-in-a-Nutshell.htm.

“Chagigah 12a:9.” Accessed August 10, 2022. https://www.sefaria.org/Chagigah.12a.9?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en.

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Gen 1:20-23 Fish, birds, reptiles

Genesis 1:20-23References

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

1Co 15:39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
  • The creation is increasing in complexity. Day five sees creatures with the following systems:

    • Self-modifying; self-programming, self-diagnostic, self-repairing, self-reproducing12

    • All of these systems are contained within the cell.

    • Such systems can’t “evolve; if any one of the systems fails, the animal dies.

    • It gets worse: the systems are interdependent. All systems functioning from day 1 are required for survival. If one isn’t working, there is no chance of being fruitful and multiplying.

    • The most advanced of these is yet to come: the human.

Gen 1:24-25 Land Mammals

Genesis 1:24-25References

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

  • As opposed to simply saying “land creatures (as He essentially does with sea creatures and air creatures), he divides land-based creatures into three categories.

    • Domestic animals, with whom man to this day shares a unique bond

    • Creeping things – a broad category that might include reptiles, amphibians, insects and perhaps microscopic organisms

    • Beasts of the earth, i.e., wild, non-domesticated animals

Gen 1:26-27 Man in God’s Image

GenesisReferences

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Col 3:8-10 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Mat 19:4 (Mar 10:6) He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?”

Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Jas 3:9 With (our tongues) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

  • Love your neighbor application.

    • Rabbi Pliskin says, “Love of one’s neighbor which is not motivated by the realization that man was created in God’s image is doomed to fail. When we realize that man alone is fashioned (in God’s image), he is suddenly transformed from an inconsequential being into one that is without parallel. He is the pinnacle of Creation.”13

    • Mic 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

    • The slightest act of lovingkindness pleases God because we are honoring another made in His image. This includes a smile to a stranger you will probably never see again.

    • It can be a challenge to love our neighbor when he or she does not reflect the character of God. The same can be said of you and me when we don’t reflect the image of our Creator.

    • The sages debated which verse was more significant: Leviticus 19:18 or Genesis 1:27.

      • One sage who likely was unfamiliar with Luke’s gospel argued in favor of Genesis.

      • His rationale was that the term “neighbor” could have a tendency to be narrowly defined as those who are like me. History bore this out in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

      • The fact that ALL mankind is created in His image means we don’t need to ask the question “who is my neighbor?” The answer is obvious. It includes people who are not like us as well as those who are. We also don’t GET to ask that question.

  • If we view Genesis 2 as providing more detail on the creation of man (which is the viewpoint we recommend, as opposed to a chronological event following Genesis 1, or God-forbid, a conflicting creation account as some skeptics view it), then we see God was much more intimately involved with the creation of man than with any other body or being.

    • Lancaster quoting Rashi: “Everything else was created through an utterance of God, but man was created with God’s hands.”14
  • Volumes have been written about what exactly it means to be made in God’s image.

    • Walton defines as “(God’s) representative containing His essence.”15

      • He also adds, “(in other ancient cultures) it is only other gods who are made in the image of gods.”16
    • Lancaster suggests, being made in God’s image means, man alone has moral obligation to choose right but free agency to make that choice or not.

    • While in some respects, I agree with this and it is certainly what differentiates humans from other created beings, Heiser disagrees.

      • “Defining image bearing as ANY ability is a flawed approach.”17

      • As an example, he states a human is born without any such ability and some never gain these abilities.

      • “The image is not an ability, but a status. To be human is to image God.”18

    • An apt parallel is to think of ourselves as ambassadors or agents of Yeshua with God as the principal.

      • The agent is granted authority (or “status”) by the principal to act on the principal’s behalf.

      • The agent must put the principal’s interest above his own when going about the principal’s business (and we’re to be about God’s business 24/7/365).

      • When a third party observes the agent, they draw conclusions about the nature, preferences, and character of the principal.

        • The agent’s behavior reflects the character of the principal (positively or negatively).

        • When a third party mistreats the agent, it is the same as if they mistreated the principal (read Revelation!)

  • Why does the verse say “God said, ‘let Us…’?”

    • Some Christians see the Trinity in view.

      • Creation of man is attributed to the Father in Genesis, to the Son in Colossians 1:16, and to the Spirit in Job 33:4.
    • Heiser cautions against reading the Christian trinity into Genesis 1:26-27: “Hebrew grammar and exegesis has shown that the Trinity is not a coherent explanation.”19

    • While this may not be supported by the plain text, it’s not an unfair “deeper meaning” application.

      • There are exactly three instances of “image” in this passage.

      • John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

      • John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

    • Others would say it’s the “plural of majesty,” such as when a king or queen says “we are not amused.”

    • The sages, in a theory echoed by Michael Heiser, see a “divine council” of angelic beings with God in charge.

      • “What we have is a single person (God) addressing a group – the members of His divine council.”20

      • This does not imply creation was a group consensus or project. Genesis 1:27 tells us plainly that God did the creating.

      • We see this in various places, but perhaps this type of council is most obvious in 1 Kings

      • 1Ki 22:19-22 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; [20] and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. [21] Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ [22] And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’

      • In the same way, God consulted with His counsel (though He certainly didn’t need to).

      • Perhaps there was some discussion, then God finally issued the decree on behalf of the council.

    • According to Jewish tradition, there was a dispute among the angels AFTER God’s made this decision.21

      • They were simultaneously upset that God overruled their protests and became jealous when they saw Adam in his (unfallen) splendor and glory.

      • These angels descended into the created world and conspired with the serpent to plot against Adam.

      • In Ezekiel 28, the oracle against the King of Tyre transforms into a lament over Satan. God says, “You were in Eden, the garden of God.”

      • And the rest, as they say, is history.

Gen 1:28-30 – God’s commission to man

Genesis 1:28References
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Col 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

  • Jewish tradition holds that “all souls that existed from the time of Adam the first man until the end of time, were all created during the six days of creation. All of them were in the Garden of Eden.”22

  • Ephesians teaches that some part of us, the part we typically call our spirit or soul, existed before our bodies.

    • It will also live on after our body perishes until at some point in the future, our bodies and souls/spirits will be reunited.
  • Lancaster comments that the people of the world limit the size of their families based on finances. This is to have a spirit of fear. The child of God has no need to fear, and we should trust in God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply.23

  • When Adam and Eve lost Eden, they also lost much of their authority over creation. We await the new Eden (Revelation 22) when all will be restored.

  • James 3 contrasts the dominion we have been given with our inability to control our tongues.

    • James 3:7-8 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Genesis 1:29-30References

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

1 Ti 4:4-5 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
  • The other ancients viewed the world as created for the gods and their enjoyment.

    • The various elements of creation came about as a result of conflict among the gods.

    • Man was only an afterthought when the gods realized they needed servants to do their bidding or worshippers to appease them.24

  • The Bible presents the creation as a controlled and intricately designed (as opposed to arbitrarily determined by the results of a supernatural conflict) process to be under the dominion of man.

  • From the beginning, God planned man as the centerpiece of His creation.25

  • There is not yet death so there would be no killing of animals for food. Yet, for some reason, man has to eat, which does requires cutting off a plant from its lifesource.

    • One argument is that God “permitted” man to eat (except of the two trees) for his pleasure and fellowship. They were not commanded to eat.

    • Another argument is that their (at that moment) eternally healthy state might have been preconditioned on keeping the body fueled with a plant-based diet.

Gen 1:31 VERY good

Genesis 1:31References
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.Act 17:24-25 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
  • Not just good but “very good” – not just טֹ֖וב, but טֹ֖וב מְאֹ֑ד

    • מְאֹ֑ד

      • Deu 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
    • וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶךָ

      • The word for might is מְאֹ֑ד.

      • Love Him with all your “veryness” – with every fiber of your being, (perhaps “Love Him with the entirety of God’s creation in you”) is the thought.

      • מְאֹ֑ד has the same Hebrew letters as אָדָ֜ם, Adam, so the creation of Man/Adam was very good.

      • Adam is thought of as an acronym:

        • Abraham

        • David

        • Messiah

  • The physical creation is very good.

    • We often deemphasize the physical aspect of our nature and stress the spiritual.

    • This thinking has roots in Greco-roman philosophy as well as early Christian Gnostic heresy, which taught that the physical world was evil.

    • Be cautious about the thinking “heaven is my real home” or “I’m just passing through on the way to heaven.”

    • God’s creation is not to be rejected as evil.

    • “A man will have to give an account on the judgment day for every good and permissible thing which he might have enjoyed and did not.” (y.Kiddushin 4:12)

    • As we studied in Revelation; the New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem are all physical places. The afterlife will be a corporeal physical existence.26

Genesis 2:1-3 – Shabbat Rest

Genesis 2:1-3
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. [3] So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Rev 10:6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay,

Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

Joh 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”

Rev 21:6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

  • Maimonides, a medieval Jewish sage states, “the Creator caused a reposed to encompass the universe.”27 Perhaps this is when time actually began as the laws of nature were stabilized.

  • There is no stated “evening and morning” for the seventh day. It was intended to be permanent.

    • Adam and Eve’s decision disrupted this.

    • For our shabbat rest, we now look forward to the messianic age and the New heavens/New earth/New Jerusalem.

    • Jesus promises us our Shabbat rest in Rev 21:6

  • Psa 90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

    • The sages applied Psalms 90.4 to Shabbat and concluded that, since every day is as a 1000 years, there will be 6000 years of work, followed by a Shabbat rest of 1000 years corresponding to the Messianic rule.

    • Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

    • Messianic Jews see a hint of this in the seven words of Genesis 1:1, which we discussed previously.

    • בראשׁית ברא אלהים את השׁמים ואת הארץ

  • Hebrews 4 has an exposition of the Shabbat rest:

    • Heb 4:1-11 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. [2] For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. [3] For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. [4] For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” [5] And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” [6] Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, [7] again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” [8] For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. [9] So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, [10] for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. [11] Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

    • The writer is saying that the Israelites rebelled in the wilderness and failed to enter in to the rest God had planned for them. Those who rebel against the word of Jesus were acting like Moses’ generation did.28

    • Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

  • Just as surely as God created the first heaven and first earth and all that is within, He will one day pour out His judgment on that creation and usher in the New heaven and new earth for eternity.

The more I study about Shabbat, the more I come to the conclusion that the fact that Christians don’t observe it is we are being fed a lie by the enemy who doesn’t want us partaking in this institution of holiness and community with God and with each other.

Christianity sees the Shabbat as a difficult burden and one that Jesus did away with. If it is so burdensome, why do all Jews seem to delight in the Sabbath? We need to stop to ask why would Jesus do away with one of the 10 commandments; and if He did, what kind of Jewish messiah would violate one of the 10 commandments? Join us in our Gospels study as we will take a hard look at at the so-called Sabbath controversies.

It is a gift from God and maybe we should think hard about whether such a gift should be ignored or declined. Some say Sunday is the Christian sabbath. You won’t find this so defined in the Bible, but let’s grant it for a moment. How many Christians truly hit pause on their lives for more than the handful of hours they may be at church on Sunday, versus a full 24-hour shutdown period?

“In the business of today’s world, a person feels like he or she does not have time to stop even for a single day. (In contrast) the commandment of Shabbat forces us to stop and remember who created time. Sabbath sets aside one day out of a week to remember that we serve God, not ourselves, not our jobs, and not Pharaoh.” Daniel Lancaster29


  1. “Bereishit in a Nutshell,” Chabad.Org, accessed August 7, 2022, https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3137/jewish/Bereishit-in-a-Nutshell.htm↩︎

  2. John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, (E-Sword). (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2000), Gen 1:2. ↩︎

  3. C.F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, E-sword version. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publ., 1986), loc. Gen 1:2. ↩︎

  4. Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First edition. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 383. ↩︎

  5. Lancaster, Shadows of the Messiah, 4:7. ↩︎

  6. “Chagigah 12a:9,” accessed August 10, 2022, https://www.sefaria.org/Chagigah.12a.9?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en↩︎

  7. D. Thomas Lancaster, Unrolling the Scroll, ed. Boaz Michael and Seth Dralle, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Torah Club 1 (Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2014), 5. ↩︎

  8. Chuck Missler, Genesis: An Expositional Commentary (Supplemental Notes) (Coeur d’Alene, ID: Koinonia House, 2004), 29. ↩︎

  9. Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, Gen 1:9. ↩︎

  10. Missler, Genesis, 48–52. ↩︎

  11. Lancaster, Unrolling the Scroll, 1:3. ↩︎

  12. Missler, Genesis, 74. ↩︎

  13. Zelig Pliskin, Love Your Neighbor: (Brooklyn, New York: Bnay Yakov Publications, 2004), 19. ↩︎

  14. Daniel T. Lancaster, Depths of the Torah, ed. Boaz D. Michael and Steven P. Lancaster, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Torah Club 4 (Marshfield, MO: First Fruits of Zion, 2017), 13. ↩︎

  15. Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, Gen 1:26-27. ↩︎

  16. Ibid. ↩︎

  17. Heiser, The Unseen Realm, 41. ↩︎

  18. Ibid., 42. ↩︎

  19. Ibid., 38. ↩︎

  20. Ibid., 39. ↩︎

  21. Lancaster, Shadows of the Messiah, 4:13. ↩︎

  22. Ibid., 4:11, quoting Midrash Tanchuma Mishpatim 3. ↩︎

  23. Lancaster, Depths of the Torah, 1:16. ↩︎

  24. Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Gen 1:26-31. ↩︎

  25. Ibid. ↩︎

  26. Lancaster, Depths of the Torah, 1:19. ↩︎

  27. Maimonides, Guide to the Perplexed, Part I, Ch 67, in Missler, Genesis, 101. ↩︎

  28. Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd edition (E-Sword). (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2014), loc. Heb 4:1. ↩︎

  29. Lancaster, Depths of the Torah, 1:21. ↩︎

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