Editor's note: We are continually seeking the truth in God's word. All content has suggestive conclusions. We recommend that all readers of this website search the scriptures for themselves and pray for understanding to prove or disprove all content.
Genesis (the beginning)
The Heavens or Sky, the Earth or the Land?
In both the Ancient Scriptures of Israel and the Christian Era Scriptures, we find all the realm of creation divided into three entities; the heavens (or sky), the earth (the land or ground), and the seas (the waters). Now, in contemporary English, we understand that there is a difference between the heavens and the sky, the earth and the land (or ground), and the seas and waters. However, in both Hebrew and Greek, these fine distinctions that we accept because of our modern technology, can't be found. So, Genesis 1:1 could literally be translated as, ‘In the beginning God created the sky and the ground.'
This is accurate, because this was the view of man from the earth. There was the land that he stood on, the sky above, and the water over there. There was no technical understanding of the earth as a planet, because men didn't view the earth as we do today, as a ball in space... it just wasn't necessary at the time. However, because of these distinctions that we understand so well today, translators must choose the proper words to provide the right nuances in English, so readers can grasp the proper meaning of each text.
This is why you'll find the Greek word ourano translated as both heaven(s) and sky herein, depending on the context. You'll also find the Greek words ge and ges translated as earth, ground, or land, depending on the context. So, the symbolic words at 2 Peter 3:5, 6, for example, are translated herein as, ‘The thing that they don't want to understand is this: That the ancient earth and sky were out of the water, but (in obedience to God's instructions) they stood together between the waters.'
Notice that the ‘earth and sky' were located ‘between the water.' So, although other Bibles translated this verse as speaking of the ‘heavens and earth,' the reference is to that portion of the heavens which is close to the earth... to the sky. Likewise, at Matthew 5:5, where Jesus spoke of the ‘meek' as inheriting the earth; since he was talking about people receiving an ‘allotment' on the earth, we have chosen to translate ges as earth, not land or ground.
And finally, when it comes to the seas (gr. thalassa), there are already distinctions as to different types of waters in the Greek text. For instance, seas are called thalassa and rivers are called potamos (or ‘flowing'). However, notice (in Revelation 20: 13) how the resurrection of the dead is divided between those who died on land and those who were lost in the water, ‘The sea gave up its dead, death and the grave gave up those dead in them, and they were all judged by the things that they did.'
We again find all three of these realms of creation brought together symbolically at Revelation 21:1, where it says, ‘Then I saw a new earth and sky, because the previous earth and sky had disappeared, as did the sea.'
In the case of where EliJah was taken in a celestial chariot, most people think he was taken to (as their Bibles put it) ‘heaven,' where he went to live with God. This isn't true, because King JehoRam later received a letter from Elijah (see 2 Chronicles 21:12). So God had apparently used the celestial chariot to take him into the sky (the proper translation here), where he was then taken to another place here on the earth.
Space, Expanse, or Firmament?
The Greek word that we have translated as space several times in the First Chapter of Genesis and in the Psalms is stereoma. We are sure that many readers will recognize this as the root word for stereophonic for stereo and (3-D) photography. It means something that has depth, and is often used to describe something solid. This is why stereoma has often been translated firmament in other Bibles. Firmament is an English word that was likely made up by early people to describe something they didn't understand, the depth of space. However, the earliest Bible writers used the right word to describe the sky and all that is above it.
The Tree of Life
The book of Genesis speaks of a Tree of Life that God had put in the middle of the Paradise of Delights (Garden of Eden) at Genesis 2:9. And one of the reasons why God expelled Adam and his wife from the Paradise was, according to Genesis 3:22, to keep them from partaking of the tree and continuing to live. Was this a real tree?
Well, since the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad and Evil was a real tree, we can only assume that the Tree of Life was literal also. But the fact that there was such a tree raises the question: Was Adam truly born perfect, having the ability to live forever, as some have said?
Perhaps we can say that Adam wasn't imperfect, because he hadn't proven unfaithful at first. However, he didn't have the gift of life in the age yet, or else there would have been no need for a Tree of Life.
Still, he might have been considered imperfect by God, because he hadn't been tried and tested, as Jesus (his corresponding ransom) had been, for this appears to be the reason for the tree. Notice, for example, what was said of Jesus at Hebrews 5:8, 9: ‘And although he was the Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. Then after his [training] was finished, he became the one who brings salvation in this age to everyone who obeys him.'
But either way; apparently man was only designed to live less than 1,000 years (one day with God) before being allowed to eat from the tree. For, without partaking of the Tree of Life, that's about how long Adam and his pre-Downpour descendants actually lived.
Yet, this conclusion raises more questions. For example:
Does this mean that man was created mortal and corruptible (see 1 Corinthians 15:50-54)?
Does this mean that Adam had to partake of the Tree of Life continually to remain alive and to free him from the corruption of the aging process?
Will there be Trees of Life on the earth in the future?
And if so, must man continue to eat from these trees in order to live, or can faithful mankind truly become undying and incorruptible without being taken to heaven?
Understand that the following are just suggested conclusions based on our continuing study of the Bible, and with more study these conclusions may change. However, it appears as though man was created corruptible and mortal, for why else would he need the Tree of Life? But all mention of the Tree (or Trees) of Life in the Bible seems to indicate that partaking of it is just a one-time requirement (see Genesis 3:22 and Revelation 2:7). And if our conclusions about the meaning of the words at 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 are correct. the faithful will be raised without any need for the Tree of Life, because they have proven to be righteous, and they will be resurrected both undying and incorruptible.
As for the future; the Bible does speak of there being Trees of Life, for Jesus promised faithful Christians (at Revelation 2:7), ‘I'll allow the one who conquers to eat from the Tree of Life that is in the Paradise of God.' And Revelation 22:2 tells us: ‘On both sides of the river were trees of life that put out twelve crops of fruit, one each month, and the trees' leaves are used to cure the nations.' So it appears as though faithful Christians who survive until that time will immediately be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life, and those of the nations (those who had not proven faithful until the end of the 1,000 years) will also be allowed to partake of the life-giving fruit at that later time.
When Men are In Charge
At Genesis 1:28, God gave men the following commission, ‘Reproduce, multiply, fill the earth and control it. Rule over the fish of the seas, the winged creatures of the skies, all the herding animals of the ground, all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground, and the whole earth.'
The implications of this scripture are staggering, if you just think about it. However, the first humans (Adam and Eve) apparently relinquished this privilege when they sinned and submitted to the Slanderer, effectively handing this commission over to him. For, notice what the Slanderer later said to Jesus (as recorded at Luke 4:6), ‘I will give you power over all of these [worldly governments] and the glory of them, because they have been given to me and I can give them to whomever I wish.'
So, for about six thousand years, men lost their commission to rule over the earth and its creatures. However, after the Slanderer and his messengers lose the war in heaven, and Jesus and his ‘chosen ones' become kings over the earth, the power that the Slanderer has over this earth is no longer his, but falls back into the hands of men... Jesus and his chosen ones. This is why Paul wrote (at Hebrews 2:8), ‘So, when [God] puts everything under [his feet], He doesn't leave anything that [men] aren't in charge of. However, we don't see everything obeying us yet.'
Now, as Paul wrote, ‘We don't see everything obeying us yet.' Nor do we see this world in general responding to Jesus' righteous rule. In fact, conditions in the world are deteriorating as they reflect the power of the Slanderer and his messengers in the last throws of evil acts before their destruction.
So, we may now be living (or be close to living) in that period, which was described by Jesus in what many people call ‘the Lord's Prayer' (Matthew 6:9, 10), where he taught us to pray, ‘May everything that delights you happen on the earth as in heaven.' For, what delights God happens in heaven with the ouster of the Slanderer and his messengers, as the earth awaits the final battle of Armageddon.
Thereafter, we can scarcely imagine what powers will be returned to man, when the full commission that God gave to us over this earth and its creatures is restored. With no opposition, and with each man and woman endowed with a full measure of the power of God's Breath, the blessings to this earth and its creatures are virtually limitless.
The Woman and Her Seed
One of the marvels of John's writings is that he ties the first prophecies and first words of the Bible into the Bible's last written books (John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation). For example, the words that are written in Revelation the Twelfth Chapter about the ‘woman' and her ‘seed,' and the ‘dragon' and his ‘messengers,' shows the thrilling conclusion to a Bible ‘mystery (gr. mysterion),' which was anticipated for some 4,000 years prior to John's writing. In fact, at Romans 16:25 it is referred to as, ‘the revelation of the mystery that has been kept quietly for the ages.'
The prophecy that the Revelation is explaining, is the first one found in the Bible. At Genesis 3:15, God said to the Snake (the Slanderer), ‘I'll create hatred between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will watch for your head and you will watch for his heel.'
So here in the Revelation, the four characters of Genesis 3:15 are identified. They are:
· The ‘snake' (or dragon) is the Slanderer
· The Slanderer's ‘seed' are (in part) the Slanderer's messengers
· The ‘woman' who gives birth to the seed is God's faithful heavenly organization (the ‘Jerusalem Above')
· The ‘woman's seed' (which was ‘born' when the Slanderer was thrown out of heaven) is God's entire Kingdom arrangement - Jesus and his ‘chosen ones,' which were selected from among men. They make up ‘the New Jerusalem.'
Where Did Cain Get His Wife?
One of the most commonly asked Bible questions is; Where did Cain get his wife? Yet the answer is very simple; he married one of his sisters (Genesis 5:4). Understand that the Bible only lists the births of principal characters, such as Cain, Abel, and Seth (from whom we descended). But Adam and Eve obviously had many children, both sons and daughters.
Does marrying a sister sound immoral or illogical? Well, it was a common practice in Bible times. Take for example, the righteous man Abram (Abraham). He married his half sister Sarah. Their common father was Terah (see Genesis 20:12). Then Abraham sent his servant to his closest relatives to take a wife for his son Isaac, who married his first cousin, Rebecca, who was also a granddaughter of Terah. This pattern followed through with the wives of Isaac's sons Jacob and IshMaEl, who also married first cousins that were descended from Terah. So, what we call incest today wasn't illegal or immoral in early Bible times.
Don't confuse this name (Ed-em) with Edom (Ed-om), although they both have similar meanings, referring to something that is red. For Edom is the name of the land that belonged to Isaac's son Esau, and Edem is the name of the land in the east where the Garden of God was located, and from which we get the name Eden.
Notice that, different from the Hebrew text which refers to the Garden of Eden, the Greek text says the garden was called the Paradise of Delights, and that it was just located on the east side of the land of Edem. This description, which is more involved than what is found in the Hebrew text, is one of several that give these translators the opinion that the Greek texts are likely more accurate than the existing Hebrew texts.
Some think that the Greek text is in error when it describes one of the rivers of Edem as flowing around the land of Ethiopia, where the Hebrew text says that it flowed from the land of Cush. However, there is no error here, for Cush means Black, and Ethiopia is just the Greek word for the Land of Blacks. So when the Bible says that the headwaters of the Geon were in Ethiopia, it isn't necessarily referring to the same land east of Egypt that we call Ethiopia today. Rather, it refers to the land of the descendants of Cush, wherever they were living at the time.
Notice that; it appears as though Moses gave the location of pre-Downpour lands by using post-Downpour locations and peoples (such as the Assyrians). So, describing the ‘Paradise of Delights' as being located on the east side of the land of Edem provides us a physical location, and that location must still have been something that was known after the Downpour. Where is that?
A people called the Sons of Edem are mentioned in other scriptures, such as 2 Kings 19:12 Septuagint), where the Assyrians were taunting the people of Jerusalem by bragging about the cities they had conquered. In the Septuagint, it says the Sons of Edem were conquered at ‘Thaesthen' (‘Tel Assar' in Hebrew), meaning, the Hill of Blacks. This is consistent with the Bible's description of the people who lived in that land as being the descendants of Cush.
Since this conquest of Edem is mentioned along with the conquests of Golan, Haran, and Rezeph (cities of MesoPotamia), it can be assumed that this land is located somewhere west of Assyria. And recent research indicates that the land of Edem (or Eden) may well have been north of where most people think of it as being (in southern Iraq). For, its location is likely where you'll find the headwaters of the Tigris, Euphrates, and two other rivers (that are probably the Geon and the Phison, since they have similar names today), near the foot of Mt. Ararat in modern Iran, SW of Tabriz in Azerbaijan, a place that was inhabited by the Medes in the 7th Century B.C.E.
Notice that the Bible account does speak of the ‘heads' of these rivers all coming together in Edem (or Eden, which most people think of as being the garden), but a geographical map shows that this has never been true. And the Hebrew words that are usually translated as saying that the rivers come together in four heads, may also be translated as saying that the headwaters of these four rivers are found in the land in which the Garden was located (Edem), so we have translated it that way.
Then, is the present country of Ethiopia the original location of the headwaters of the River Geon that flowed into Edem (Eden)? Not only is that unlikely geologically and geographically, but the Bible's account about the sons of Edem and the location of the Hill of Blacks indicates that the descendants of Cush who live there today originally settled in areas of modern Iran and Iraq, and they were then relocated to Ethiopia, perhaps after their defeat by the Assyrians. The fact that Cush's son Nimrod founded many cities in that area bears this thought out.
Was there a man named Edem, from whom the land in Iran at the foot of Mt. Ararat derives its name? That could be, but since Edem appears to mean red earth, the term sons of Edem could also mean sons of the red earth, after the bright red ochre soil which is found in that area. It is interesting that the name Adam also seems to imply Red Earth, so the Septuagint spelling of the land (Edem) appears to be correct, and soil from that area (SW of Ararat) could also be the dust of the ground from which Adam was made.
By the way; There may also be another mention of the land of Edem (in the Septuagint) at Amos 1:5, which reads, ‘The tribe of the men of Edem I'll cut to pieces, and the best men of Assyria will be captured, says God.'
However; although the Hebrew texts somewhat agree by describing the people there as the House of Eden, other Septuagint versions speak of them as being the men of Charran.
Eue, Euan, or Eve?
There seems to be a contradiction between the Hebrew and Greek texts over the name of the first woman. In fact, there is even an apparent contradiction between the Greek texts, because she is
referred to as Life (Greek: Zoe - pronounced zoe-ay) at Genesis 3:20, but as Eue or Euan (pronounced Eu-weh or Eu-wan) at Genesis
4:25. However, there is no contradiction, just a difference in languages. The Greek word found at Genesis 3:21 (Zoe) means Life and the word (אֶת־חַוָּה or
H'Hawah) found at Genesis 4:1 also means Life in Hebrew.
It may be hard for some to understand how H'Hawah came to be pronounced as Eve in English, but this probably comes from a later corruption of the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Eue, because the Greek letter u looks like a v (ευαν). So her English name should be Life, but Eve has become the common mispronunciation.
Sons of God
The Greek expression uioi tou Theou literally means sons of God. The term is only used when speaking of men or heavenly messengers who are God's direct creations, never as the progeny of men, who
are referred to as the uioi tou anthropois - the sons of men. So, ‘the sons of God' referred to at Genesis 6:3 must be speaking of God's heavenly sons, since the
only earthly son of God up to that time was Adam. Also notice that the women it speaks of there were called ‘the daughters of men.'
This raises the question: Do God's heavenly messengers have sex organs that would be aroused by seeing beautiful women? No, for Jesus indicated (at Matthew 22:30) that sexual reproduction isn't a part of heavenly life. So, why would ‘sons of God' want to come to earth and take ‘all that they chose' to be their wives? Apparently, the motivation was the same as the Slanderer's - lust for power. So they likely materialized human bodies (with sex organs) and fathered children that grew to be ‘giants' and ‘famous men' in their time.
Apparently, unrighteous men were still recounting the exploits of these hybrid giants in Moses' time, making them (as Moses wrote) ‘famous' (see Genesis 6:4). The Greek Gods and fabled strong men, such as Hercules, come immediately to mind.
Editor's note: We realize that many will think the above statements are extremely racial, but the translators are only attempting to explain what the scriptures say....
Ark or Chest?
What is an ark? Why, everyone knows of Noah's ark, and of the Ark of the Covenant... don't they? Yes, most people do. But, just what is an ark? Ark is an ancient English word, the meaning of which has mostly been long lost in history. It is translated from the Greek word kiboton (kee/boat/on). So, most people simply don't grasp what it's talking about today, and any concept that they might have of what it looked like may come from pictures in children's storybooks that show a large boat with all sorts of animals looking out the windows.
An ark is simply a box or chest. If you carefully examine the description of the measurements that God gave Noah, you will see that He told Noah to build a three-story wooden box that was about ‘five-hundred feet long, eighty feet wide, and fifty feet tall.' It was rectangular; it had a roof, at least one window, and a door. It wasn't to be a ‘boat' that could navigate, because, all it had to do was float. Nor did the animals look out the window(s); they were kept in stalls.
What Men and Animals were Given to Eat
(NOTE: Two views are offered here, differing opinions of our advisors.)
View 1: It would be foolish to attempt to draw conclusions as to whether animals killed and ate meat before the time of Adam. If they did, that apparently wasn't God's purpose thereafter, because, notice what He said as recorded at Genesis 1:30, ‘[I have given] greenish-yellow plants as food to all the earth's wild animals, all the winged creatures of the sky, and all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground and have life's breath.'
So, with the commission that was given to Adam (at Genesis 1:28), the state of all animals was to change, for notice what God told him: ‘Rule over the fish of the seas, the winged creatures of the skies, all the herding animals of the ground, all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground, and the whole earth.'
Thus, men were given total responsibility over all the animals and the whole earth. And God's instructions, that animals were just to eat vegetation, may have been what Adam and his descendants were to enforce as part of their responsibility of rulership. However, this perfect purpose ended (at least for the time being) with the rebellion in the Paradise.
Notice that; from the start, men were also just to eat vegetation. For, Genesis 1:29 says, ‘Look, I have given you all the seed-bearing plants for planting that are on the entire earth, as well as all the seed-bearing trees for planting, as your food.' So, men were apparently supposed to be vegetarians.
We don't know for sure what men actually did prior to the downpour... but they likely did eat animals after they were expelled from the paradise. The fact that Able was a herder of animals would suggest that they did. Remember... Cain was the farmer.
However, after the downpour, God's instructions to men changed (likely in recognition of what men were actually doing). From that point on, men could eat any sort of animal. Such dietary restrictions, to eat just ‘clean' animals, were only given to the Israelites. But, men had apparently already drawn some line for themselves as to what was clean (edible) and what was unclean (inedible), since God's instructions to Noah about the types of animals that were to be brought into the Chest mentioned both types; the clean (such as cattle) and the ‘unclean.' And all of this was probably based on each animal's diets and habits.
That this arrangement of eating animals didn't really please God, appears to be indicated by the tone of His words to Noah, when He told him that men could eat the animals. Notice what He said at Genesis 9:3, ‘All living and slithering animals can serve as meat for you. I've given them all to you as though they were green vegetation.'
There was just one restriction that God gave when it comes to eating meat (something that is commonly disregarded by many people today): they were not to eat the blood, which God indicated is the source of the animal's life. Pouring the animal's lifeblood out (as a symbolic sacrifice) seems to indicate that the permission for men to eat animals was something temporary, and pouring out the blood is our way of acknowledging the sacredness of all life.
But what about God's requirements to offer animal sacrifices to Him on a daily basis in Israel? Doesn't this prove that God approves the slaughtering of animals? Well, it appears as though even this was man's idea, and that God simply allowed it to happen. For, notice what God Himself said concerning this at Jeremiah 7:21-23, ‘Gather all your whole burnt-offerings, along with all your sacrifices, and then just eat all the meats! For, I didn't tell your fathers to do this, nor did I give them such instructions, on the day that I led them Egypt's land, [to bring me] whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. The only instructions I gave them, is to pay attention to My voice! [I said], I will be a God to you, and you will be a people to Me, if you will walk in My ways, and do whatever I tell you is good.'
View 2: From the words of Genesis 1:29, some have concluded that man was originally meant to be a vegetarian. It reads, ‘Look, I have given you all the seed-bearing plants for planting that are on the entire earth, as well as all the seed-bearing trees for planting, as your food.'
Does this mean that eating animals was wrong in God's eyes and that men were supposed to be vegetarians? Not necessarily, for remember; the only rule God gave to humans was the prohibition of eating of one tree. Perhaps a better understanding can be had if we compare the next verse and see what God gave the animals for food. Genesis 1:30 reads, ‘[I have given] greenish-yellow plants as food to all the earth's wild animals, all the winged creatures of the sky, and all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground and have life's breath.'
At this verse, the animals were likewise given plants for food. Does that mean that the animals did not kill and eat other animals before and during the time of Adam? Surviving on plants alone would be extremely difficult for many animals, and downright impossible for some. Consider sharks, whales, and almost every fish, members of the cat family, birds of prey like eagles and falcons, and odd animals like anteaters; all of them are designed to eat other animals. Therefore, their designer obviously meant for them to do just that.
With that in mind, it is quite likely that humans were likewise intended to be omnivores. Perhaps that is what is implied by the words recorded just prior to this at Genesis 1:28, where God told Adam: ‘Rule over the fish of the seas, the winged creatures of the skies, all the herding animals of the ground, all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground, and the whole earth.'
If Adam and Eve did not eat meat, the fact that Abel was a herder of animals would suggest that their children did. Abel's killing and offering an animal to God even garnered him favor; while Cain (the farmer), living mostly or entirely on plants, did not have God's favor (Genesis 4:3-5).
It is also interesting that throughout the Bible there is a definite distinction between wild animals and domestic animals. We tend to divide land animals as reptiles, insects, mammals, etc., but the text of the Bible originally divides them as wild and domestic, and later as clean and unclean. Remembering that this division helps us to understand scriptures such as Isaiah 11:6-9, as well as understanding what conditions were like in the Paradise.
Men were apparently already aware that some animals were clean (edible) and others were unclean (inedible), since God's instructions to Noah about the types of animals that were to be brought into the Chest mentioned this division (Genesis 7:8).
Then after the downpour, God's instructions to men changed. From that point on, men could eat any sort of animal. There was just one restriction that God gave when it comes to eating meat (something that is commonly disregarded by many people today): they were not to eat the blood, which God indicated is the source of the animal's life (Genesis 9:3-6).
Although man was given all the animals for food, this does not mean he could wantonly kill them without drawing God's anger. The scriptures show us that animals are alive, the same as humans, and that life is precious to God. Pouring the animal's lifeblood out (as a symbolic sacrifice) is a way of acknowledging the sacredness of life, and that the position man holds over the animals is only due to the Eternal, the source of all life.
Many religious teachers have tried to draw a line between the Almighty, who they refer to as the vengeful, warring ‘God of the Old Testament,' and the ‘God of the New Testament,' as represented by
the loving, kind actions and words of Jesus. However, if you pay close attention to the details, you will find the same kind, loving God in both portions of the Bible. And part of this can be seen in
His requirement for animal sacrifices.
Now, for confirmed vegetarians, the thought of offering the lives of animals to God may sound repulsive. However, these sacrifices pictured something much more important; the need to bring an end to all human (and perhaps most animal) suffering and death.
Notice that the first animal sacrifice mentioned in the Bible is the one offered by Adam's second son Abel. And although he and his brother Cain both offered sacrifices, Abel's was the one that God found to be satisfactory. Was this because God liked Abel better than He liked Cain? That doesn't appear to be the case. Apparently, Abel's sacrifice was more pleasing to God because he offered a living thing, which better represented the sacrifice that God Himself would make when He offered His son's life for mankind.
Of interest though, are God's kind instructions about how such sacrifices were to be offered. For example, to show that they were being offered to God, some type of Altar had to be constructed. What kind? Notice that God said (at Exodus 20:24) ‘You must make an Altar to Me from the dirt...' So nothing fancy or expensive was required. Then notice what He said after that (Exodus 20:25), ‘Now, if you build a stone Altar to Me, don't use cut stones...' And at Exodus 20:26 we read, ‘Nor should you build any steps to My Altar...' So the Altar wasn't to be too high, and simple rock (or dirt) construction was fine.
Of course, shortly thereafter, God gave the instruction to build the Sacred Tent, and it was to have an Altar. And while the Tent must have been beautiful in all its gold, the Altar was short and quite small, and made of wood and brass... because it was to be portable. So, the fires were kept small, and only animal fat and small organs, plus bread and wine, and tiny amounts of animal blood, were offered there.
Then a ‘clean' and ‘perfect' animal was to be slaughtered, and the rest of its flesh was usually to be roasted or boiled nearby - except where it was a ‘whole burnt offering.' ‘Clean' of course, meant that it was to be an edible animal, such as a calf, sheep, pigeon, or dove. And what was to happen to the meat? It was to be eaten by those who offered it, and by the priests. In other words, this was just a community barbeque with one's neighbors and God. And what portion would God take on his Altar? The fat, the liver, the kidneys, etc. They were mostly offered as a form of incense or pleasing odor to Him. No angry and vengeful (or hungry) God here.
Who Was OchoZath?
This person isn't listed in the Hebrew text, but his name is found in the Septuagint version's description of Abraham's oath to King AbiMelech (at Genesis 21:22, 32). This unusual extra detail is another of several that gives these translators the opinion that the Greek text may in fact be more accurate that the current Hebrew texts.
Of particular interest is this person's actual relationship with AbiMelech. The Greek word that is used to describe OchoZath is nymphagogos. It means ‘bride bringer,' and refers to a close friend who would procure a bride or brides for the king (in this case).
The account found in Genesis Chapter 47, where Joseph bought the Egyptian people's land for Pharaoh, provides us an interesting insight into the history of
governmental power to tax its residents, and to own the land (imminent domain).
From this unique historical source (the Bible), we can see that governmental power and taxation wasn't necessarily common in early Egypt, which was in fact, the first great world power, and which became the source of information about how governments are to be subsidized to all future generations and governments.
Apparently, prior to that time governmental taxation of an entire population was unknown. They may have derived their funds by coercing merchants or rich landowners... or by war. However, under Joseph's inspired direction (and God's permitting the famine), this first major government of history could legally claim the right to own the land and to tax the people. And while most archeologists and scholars deny the existence of Joseph (as well as a long line of other major Bible people and events), no one can deny the effect of what he did on world history.
So, can we say that God is responsible for governmental taxation? Yes, for notice what Romans 13:6, 7 tells us, ‘This is why you pay taxes, because as public servants, they are serving God's purposes. So, pay everyone what they are owed; to the tax assessor, the property tax; to the toll collector, the toll; give the police fear, and honor those [who require] honor.'
It is also interesting that this early decision affected the religious clerics of the time, in that they owned their property and they paid no taxes, which is again similar to modern laws.
So, the conclusion we reach is that governmental power and taxation are things that God created for our benefit. And He also considered it necessary to remove religion from the influence of and the taxation of government.
The parallels to these ancient laws of God can still be seen in modern governments, where national taxation is usually about the same as it was in Egypt, twenty percent, and religious clerics aren't taxed on income from their religious sources.
Editor's note: Although the above statements are correct. We need to understand that the governments of this world are ruled by the great deceiver (Satan--See Matthew 4:8-9 ) God does not approve of the corruption and back door dealings that was common in world governments back then or today.
It appears as though God has provided a secret sign, known only to God and a person's mate, to indicate righteousness or a desire to be righteous, the foreskin of the genitalia. On a man this is the extra fold of skin around the top of the penis, and on females it is the small piece of skin called the hymen. So, whether this skin remains unbroken or is removed is something that is quite secret and unseen by others, but known by God and one's mate.
It seems unusual that both of these small pieces of skin appear to have been made to be broken or cut off without creating any long-term injury or harm, and in the case of the hymen, is exclusive to humans. So, it appears as though man was created this way deliberately, so that those who wished to remain faithful could choose to indicate this in a very private way.
We first learned of the meaning and need of this sign for males when God told Abraham that he, his entire household, and all his descendants should have their foreskin circumcised. Note what He said as found at Genesis 17:10-12, ‘This is the Sacred Agreement between you and your seed (through all its generations) and Me: All of your males must be circumcised. The foreskin of your flesh must be circumcised. This will be the sign of the Sacred Agreement between you and Me. You must circumcise all of your male children when they are eight-days old, throughout all your generations. [This includes all the] servants who are born in your house, those who are bought with money, and it includes the sons of aliens who are not your seed.'
It is also interesting that new-born males were to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth, because that is precisely the best time to perform this delicate operation, since that is the time when the least bleeding will occur. Who would have known this other than God?
It was later on, after the death of Jesus, when many gentile converts were coming into the Christian Congregation, that the question of circumcision arose, for circumcised Jewish Christians were demanding that uncircumcised gentile converts should also be circumcised. And when the matter was brought before ‘the Holy Ones' in Jerusalem, they decided that physical circumcision was just a sign that God required of the descendants of Abraham. So they decreed (as found at Acts 15:28, 29), ‘It's apparent to the Holy Breath [of God] and to us, that we shouldn't put any burdens on you, other than these necessary things: Stay away from things that are sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things that are strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you stay away from these things, you will do well. Good health to you!'
In other words, physical circumcision was no longer required. However, notice what Moses wrote (as recorded at Deuteronomy 10:16, 17), ‘So, circumcise the hardness from your hearts and don't be [rebellious], for the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords.'
As you can see, there is both physical circumcision and a spiritual circumcision, which both amount to a removing of the sign of impurity (for males).
Females, of course, were not to be circumcised, because their foreskin is a sign of their virginity. And though modern people call the practice of surgically removing the clitoris (as is practiced by many peoples on the African continent today) ‘female circumcision,' that is just mutilation, not a removal of the foreskin.
What is the purpose of establishing virginity among women? Because God's view is that a husband has a right to choose a wife of high moral character who is clean and untouched. And for this, He provided the sign of the foreskin which bleeds when first broken in sexual relations. So in ancient Israel (and among other descendants of Abraham), the custom was to provide the blanket or rug on which the marriage was consummated to the parents of the bride as proof that she was a virgin. For we read at Deuteronomy 32:13-15, ‘If any man should take a wife who he comes to dislike after he has lived with her, then starts saying bad things about her and calling her bad names, saying, When I took this woman and had sex with her, she didn't prove to be a virgin, her father and mother must bring the girl's proof of virginity to the elders at the city gate.'
And as one can choose to be circumcised in the heart, one can also choose to be a spiritual virgin, for at Revelation 14:4 we read of such individuals, ‘These didn't dirty themselves with women. In fact, they are virgins who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. They were bought from mankind [and offered] as the first fruitage to God and to the Lamb.'
What type of virginity is being spoken of here? This scripture isn't talking about living the life of a monk or a nun, but of someone who has kept him/herself pure in their worship of God. A contrasting person would be one who the Disciple James spoke of at James 4:4, where he said, ‘Adulteresses, don't you know that if you're a friend of the world, you're an enemy of God? So whoever wants to be a friend of the world is putting himself down as God's enemy.'
For a graphic description of what a spiritual whore is to God, read His description of the unfaithfulness of Judah and Israel using the pseudonyms Aholah and Aholibah, as found in Ezekiel the Twenty-Third Chapter.
In Jesus' three corresponding parables of the Faithful and Sensible Slave, the Three Slaves, and the Ten Virgins (Matthew 24:45 to 25:30), the faithful are again likened to virgins. And then there is the account of the Bride of the Lamb found in Revelation 19:7, 8, where we read, ‘Let's rejoice, shout in joy, and glorify Him, because it's time for the Lamb's wedding! His bride has prepared herself, and she was found worthy to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen. This fine linen represents the righteous actions of the Holy Ones.'
Of course, according to the Law of God, this bride of Jesus (the Lamb) has to be a virgin because of his heavenly position as the High Priest before God. For, notice what God required of the brides of the entire Priesthood class of Israel (Leviticus 21:13-15), ‘He may only take a wife who is a virgin and from his own tribe... not a widow, a divorcee, someone who has been violated, or a prostitute. He may only take a virgin from his own people as a wife. For he must not profane his seed among his people. I am the Almighty who makes him holy.'