FAITH, HOW SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, THE FIRST PROMISE TO THE TOWER OF BABEL
“In the mental constitution of man, God designed that the sentiments (or feelings that produce hope and belief, etc. that made man a morally accountable being) enlightened by His truth, should have the ascendancy, and preside over, and govern his actions. Under such an arrangement, the thoughts of the man would have resulted from spiritual thinking as opposed to the thoughts of the inferior creatures, which are purely the thinking of the flesh (the propensities or lusts). Where the truth has possession of the sentiments, setting them to work and so forming the thoughts, it becomes the law of God to them; which the apostle styles ‘the law of his mind’; and because it is written there through the hearing of ‘the law and the testimony’, which came to the prophets and apostles through the spirit, he terms it, ‘the law of the spirit’ inscribed ‘on the fleshly tables of the heart’; and ‘the law of the spirit of life’ because while obeyed, it confers a right to eternal life.” (Romans 7:23; 8:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:3)” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 3 ‘The Carnal Mind’ pg. 89).
53. You have said that our faith is counted to us for righteousness when we obey the truth in baptism. What is faith?
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (or conviction) of things not seen”. It is the act of mind by which we believe or have confidence in the promises God has made (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 4:3, 9 & 20).
54. You have said faith is a confidence or conviction in what God has promised. What was God’s first promise?
After man sinned, Yahweh Elohim spoke to the serpent in the presence of Adam and Eve: “I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed (serpent’s seed) and her seed: it (the woman’s seed) shall bruise thy head (serpent’s head) and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
55. How did sin enter the world?
Paul tells us that by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12).
It is the rule of God’s grace that before He exalts man they must pass through an indispensable period of probation. Probation characterized by the obedience of faith tested under trial. For this purpose Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and given a law to keep. This was a test of their obedience aimed at demonstrating faith in their lives to the glory of God.
What was the law they were commanded to keep?
God commanded them that they could eat of all the trees of the garden into which God had placed them but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they could not eat of it lest they die. Eve was beguiled by the serpent’s reasoning and ate of the tree. This thinking of the serpent which had aroused Eve’s desires was now presented by Eve to her husband and he also ate of the forbidden fruit (Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 2:20-21; 1 Peter 1:5-7; Genesis 3:1-7; 2 Corinthians 11:3).
56. What was the serpent?
The serpent was one of the living creatures Yahweh Elohim made, which He pronounced as “very good.” It was subtler or shrewd, quick of perception, than any other creature God had made. God enabled it to speak, to give utterance to its thoughts (Genesis 1:24-25 & 3:1).
Was the serpent moral, i.e. could it understand the difference between right and wrong?
No. Its ability to speak did not give it moral accountability. The thinking of its flesh could not ascend to faith being as an animal without the physical ability to believe. Its speech only expressed fleshly thoughts as generated by its sensations. Being more observant and reasoning than the other creatures God had made, it must have overheard the Angels in conversation with Adam in respect to God’s law (Genesis 3:1; Ecclesiastes 3:21).
Were the serpent’s words to Eve the truth?
No. It was a lie for God had said dying thou shall die.
Did it intend to deceive Eve?
The serpent was incapable as an animal, of moral intention. It unintentionally deceived Eve and caused her to come under the sentence of death.
(Note Elpis Israel pg. 88).
57. What happened when Eve listened to the serpent question what God had said and utter a totally false statement?
The reasoning of the serpent was not immediately dismissed as the Lord Jesus gave example when he was tempted after 40 days in the wilderness. In contrast the serpent was listened to; its reasoning thought upon and then accepted as truth, which aroused desire or lust for equality with God, which tempted them to take of the tree. This desire was then given into and they sinned first in their hearts and then by putting into action their deceitful lusts.
Why was it necessary that the serpent, by Divine arrangement be the source of trial to test man’s faith?
Adam and Eve were not created mortal (i.e. subject to death), but ‘very good’. Adam’s transgression resulted in the defilement of his body. This defilement has been inherited by all Adam’s descendants including Christ. Unlike Adam and Eve before sin entered into the world, we are born into a state in which we are subject to disease, death and to a law of sin in our bodies which incites us to transgress. ‘Sin in the flesh’ (or diabolos) was not the quality of Adam’s nature before he transgressed, therefore the serpent was placed in the garden to expose man to false reasoning as a means of testing man’s faith without in any way violating God’s righteousness.
What was the result of Eve and then Adam through Eve, adopting the reasoning of the serpent?
The adoption of the serpent’s reasoning caused “enmity” (hostility) against God’s law and God Himself. God had warned that transgression against His law would result in the sentence of death. Man’s sin as a result, became a physical defilement in their bodies which was inherited by all Adams descendants including, as we have noted Christ. Paul refers to this physical defilement as “the law of sin in my members,” which resulted in him possessing “a body of death,” which would lead eventually to death. As these elements of corruption in their bodies were the result of transgression, Paul refers to it as, “the law of sin” and because death is the wages of sin, he also refers to it as, “the law of sin and death” (Genesis 3:15, 2:17; Romans 7:23-24 & 8:2).
58. What does the serpent symbolize in the scriptures?
It is a symbol of “sin in the flesh” - the serpent in the flesh (John 3:14-16; 1Corinthians 15:56; Romans 8:3).
Jesus said his body crucified on the cross fulfilled the type of Moses lifting up the flesh - coloured serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14-16; Numbers 21:9). That serpent represented ‘sin,’ for Paul says, “the sting of death is sin” (1Corinthians 15:56). Therefore Jesus’ Body crucified = “condemned sin in the flesh” = the brazen serpent lifted up.
Bro. Thomas shows man’s adoption of the serpent mind and the belief of its untruthful reasonings caused a similar mode of thinking to be generated in the minds of Eve and her husband. “Hence the carnal mind, or thinking of the flesh, unenlightened by the truth, is the serpent in the flesh….By a figure, sin is put for the serpent, the effect (sin) for the cause (the serpent); seeing that it was the suggester of unbelief and disobedience to man, by whom it entered into the world. Hence the idea of the serpent in the flesh is expressed by ‘sin in the flesh’; which was ‘condemned in the flesh’ when Jesus was crucified for, or on account of, sin, ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 3 ‘The Carnal Mind’ pg. 91-92).
In your own words, how do you think this relates to Christ?
Christ came to destroy “sin in the flesh,” or the devil and his works. This sinful flesh was lifted up when His body was nailed to the cross for, or on account of sin. In this sense, He fulfilled the type of Moses lifting up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, that those bitten by the fiery serpents would in faith look upon it and live. It is only in this sense that Christ “was made sin for us who knew no sin”. He was subject to a nature in which “serpent-sin” was an all pervading element in his flesh and therefore subject to the sentence of death and impulses of the flesh. He however put to death all unlawful obedience to these lusts being absolutely obedient to God’s word, even to the death of the cross (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3; 1 John 3:8; Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-16; 11 Cor. 5:21).
As we have tried to emphasize, the object was to open a way out of this state, both for himself and his brethren, by death and resurrection after trial. It pleased God to require the condemnation of this sin-nature; a body under the dominion of death because of sin; in crucifixion, in the person of a righteous possessor of it, as the basis of our forgiveness.
59. Can you explain Genesis 3:15?
“And I (God) will put enmity (hatred and hostility) between thee (serpent, symbol of “sin in the flesh” embodied in the political and religious opposition of the world) and the woman (symbol of the ecclesia of God) and between thy seed (the serpent’s seed or the servants of sin) and her seed (the servants of righteousness); it (woman’s seed in the singular - the Lord Jesus) shall bruise thy head (serpent’s or Sin), and thou (serpent-power) shall bruise his heel (woman’s seed).”
It is a prophecy of the enmity (hostility) between “sin in the flesh” embodied in the political and religious opposition of the world (symbolized by the serpent) and God’s people (symbolized by the woman), which will result in the final triumph of God’s truth over sin. The means by which God’s word could have this victory was through Christ (woman’s seed - “the word made flesh”). The seed of the serpent (or Sin) manifested through the Roman power and initiated by the chief priests of Israel, but by the foreknowledge and determinant council of God, bruised Christ in the heel (a temporary wound) by crucifying the Lord but God was to raise him from the dead. In this act of malice and wickedness against him Christ would however strike Sin a fatal blow. By this means, God through Christ, condemned the serpent in the flesh, or “sin in the flesh,” (the devil or the root of all rebellion against God) a deathblow to the head, through the offering of his body once for all, to declare God’s righteousness as the basis for the remission of sins. (Statement of the Faith No.12 pg. 127).
This great work set forth from the foundation of the world required a body specifically prepared for sacrifice (Hebrews 10:5 & 10). This is illustrated by the fact that immediately after sentence was passed upon the serpent the woman and the man, that Yahweh Elohim “appointed coats of skins” for their covering. This command implies sacrifice of animals which pointed forward to what would be accomplished as outlined in this first promise of Genesis 3:15. This sacrificial condemnation of sin was to be accomplished in the seed of the woman who bore the very defiled nature that was the result of man’s rebellion. For God’s righteousness to be declared it necessitated that before this sacrificial condemnation could take place Christ had to pass through a period of trial like Adam in which his faith would be put to the test. Christ overcame by perfect obedience, defeated, held transfixed and crucified the power of sin within him. This opened the way so that God could publicly condemn sin in the flesh and actually destroy the diabolos, or Sin physically through the death of the cross. In the terms of Genesis 3:15, this was a work accomplished in Christ’s flesh. The Lord Jesus himself draws comparison between his actual body lifted up and the brazen serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14-15) symbolizing that which has ‘the sting of death’ which is ‘sin’ (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin in the flesh, having been publicly condemned in Christ’s sacrifice, his body was purified or purged of the physical ‘law of sin and death’ on the third day when he was given immortality (Note: Eureka Vol I pg. 248). By this divinely appointed means Christ received the right from God to bestow the same blessing on all who should in faith and obedience come to God through him.
The whole divine purpose of salvation from death―including Christ’s own redemption― depended on the seed of the woman overcoming the diabolos through perfect obedience, and then by the body of sin being lifted up in public condemnation so as to declare ‘This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God;’ it is fit only for destruction (The Blood of Christ, section ‘The place for forgiveness, pg. 11 Logos ed.). Diabolos was then put to death before all men to make plain and vindicate God’s holiness as the basis of acceptable approach and the forgiveness of sins.
Is there a further application to Genesis 3:15?
Yes. The enmity the woman’s seed (Christ) experienced at the hands of the Romans (the old serpent power) was but a taste of what the woman’s seed, in a plural sense as manifested in Christ’s disciples, would experience in a long conflict from the time of Christ’s ascension until his return. In this, many of Christ’s followers have also been bruised in the heel, but will prove to only be a temporary bruising, for they shall be raised from the dead along with those who are responsible at Christ’s appearing and kingdom. At Christ’s second appearing with his Immortal Saints, he will contend with the old serpent “Gog,” (Russian/European confederacy) who will control the territory of the Ancient Roman Empire. In the battle of Armageddon this sin-power (the devil and Satan) will be overwhelmed and bound 1000 years until the end of Christ’s millennial reign. The Book of Revelation states there will be a rebellion against Christ’s authority at the end of this time resulting in the final destruction of the power of Sin. At that time the second resurrection and judgment (of those who died during the 1000-year reign of Christ) will take place. The righteous will be given immortality and the wicked destroyed. Only sinless immortals shall then inhabit the earth. Thus, the serpent-power will be given its final deathblow to the head and Genesis 3:15 will be fulfilled completely. Christ who overcame the world in his own person will “take away the sin of the world,” and will “make all things new.” Every curse will then cease, and death will be swallowed up in victory; for death shall be no more. (Revelation 12; 2 Timothy 4:1; Ezekiel 38; Revelation 16:14, 20:2-15; Genesis 3:15; John 16:33; Revelation 21:5, 22:3 & 21:4)
60. What did God say to the woman?
“Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16).
61. What did God say to the man?
“And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life;” “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field;” “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it you were taken: for dust you are, and unto dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19).
62. After man’s rebellion, did God permit them to stay in the garden He had placed them?
No. The Angels drove them from the garden so they could not partake of the Tree of Life and become immortal sinners.
63. What did God provide Adam and Eve?
God provided them with skins of lambs to cover their nakedness.
Why was this necessary and what did it signify?
These animal skins the Lord Jesus tells us in the last book of the Bible were lamb skins “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and represented the sacrifice that the seed of the woman was to make for his people thereby providing a covering for sin. (Hebrews 9:22; John 1:29; Revelation 13:8).
We see in these God’s arrangements, first of all in the poured out blood, the symbol of the life offered (Leviticus 17:11). It was the ritual recognition and declaration by the worshipper that he was under condemnation and had no right to his life. He acknowledged this in coming to God in this appointed way. Man was humbled and God exalted. By this humble approach man acknowledged that the cause of death was the breach of God’s supremacy in the beginning, and the restoration of that supremacy is the condition under which God’s grace is extended to man. Bro. Roberts states “The lesson of sacrifice is not so much the idea of man’s punishment as God’s vindication” (The Law of Moses pg. 91). That vindication was ultimately set forth through the death of Christ by which man was asked to see, “that God might be just” while acting the part of justifier or forgiver. The sacrifice of lambs at the beginning to provide a covering for man did not illustrate this, except typically and preliminarily. It did not, as Bro. Roberts explains, exhibit the righteousness of God except in a prophetic sense; it was a type of the true exhibition of God’s righteousness that God would accomplish in the Lamb of His providing.
Bro. Thomas shows that when the sacrifice of Adam was accepted, his and his wife’s offence was “provisionally remitted for “the scripture saith, that it is not possible for the blood of animals to take away sins. (Heb. 10:4) It was impossible, because sin was to be condemned in sinful flesh… The great principle to be compassed was the condemnation of sin in sinful flesh, innocent of actual transgression. This principle necessitated the manifestation of one, who should be born of a woman, but not of the will of man… He would be Son of God by origination; and Son of Mary by descent, or birth of sinful flesh. Now it is not to be supposed that Adam and Eve did not understand this: God doubtless explained it to them; for they had none to teach them but Him, and without His instruction, they would not have known what they should believe… Adam and his wife had faith, or God would not have accepted the sacrifices with whose skins they were clothed; for it was as true then as it is now, that "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 5 “The Way to the Tree of Life” pg. 164).
God therefore calls upon us to understand, admire, and recognize, so that we have the opportunity to humbly and thankfully identify with what God has done for us in the death of Christ. “To declare the righteousness of God” was the condition of the exercise of His forbearance. That is to say, God maintains His own righteousness and His own Supremacy while forgiving us, and exacts the recognition of them and submission to them, as the condition of the exercise of His forbearance in the remission of our sins. (Note The Blood of Christ section ‘The Conditions of Forgiveness’ pg. 5 & 6 Logos ed.)
Why was the fig leaf (Adam and Eve’s invention) an unacceptable covering?
Such a covering did not involve the shedding of blood. Blood is the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17). The principle of how man was to be redeemed necessitated the humble recognition of what was due to man from God because of sin. This is the reason why Christ was made subject equally with those of the defiled race He came to save.
We therefore can see that from the foundation of the world God ordained the sacrificial shedding of blood as the means by which mankind could be cleansed from the defilement of ‘sin in the flesh’ brought on the race through Adam. This was to vindicate God and humble man. God was pleased to require this before extending his grace and forbearance to fallen man. This divine principle, so that God’s righteousness might be declared, of necessity had to apply to all mankind, including Christ.
AFTER THE FALL IN EDEN TO THE CALL OF ABRAM
64. In conjunction with the man and the woman’s eyes being opened as a result of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the conception of Cain. Abel his brother was born after him. Can you tell me what scripture reveals about their lives?
Cain was a tiller of the ground while Abel was a keeper of sheep. In the course of time both men came to worship Yahweh probably at the entrance of the Garden of Eden where Yahweh’s Angel guarded the way to the Tree of Life. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground as an offering, while Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock “and of the fat thereof.” Yahweh had previously revealed His will that “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission,” of sins. Cain’s offering was rejected but Abel’s was accepted. This made Cain jealous, bitter and uncontrollably angry and when opportunity presented itself he murdered Abel. Yahweh raised up another son to Adam called Seth who took Abel’s place. He and his descendants worshipped Yahweh in truth and constituted the “seed of the woman,” while Cain who was expelled from God’s presence and his descendants were the seed of the serpent. (Hebrews 9:22; Genesis 4 & 3:15).
What principle is revealed in Yahweh’s rejection of Cain and acceptance of Abel’s offering?
“My ways are not your ways neither are my thoughts your thoughts says Yahweh.” Cain wanted to worship Yahweh contrary to what he knew to be God’s revealed will. Abel humbly submitted to God’s will and offered “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” by which he was declared “righteous.” (Isaiah 55:8; Hebrews 11:4).
Yahweh had revealed that before man could be invited to reconciliation, His righteousness had to be declared by the public demonstration of what is due to sin. Abel and the sacrifice he offered pointed forward to the submission of Christ, the declaration of God’s righteousness, and the condemnation of sin in the flesh in the body of Christ, as the Lamb of God which should take away the sin of the world (Romans 3:25-26; Romans 8:3; John 1:29).God therefore restricts forgiveness to those who fear Him and submit to the conditions He has provided. Bro. Roberts states, “If you will recognize your position, repent, and come under that man’s wing, I will receive you back to favour and forgive you….It is in Him for you if you will submit, and believe in him, and put on his name, which is a confession that you have no name of your own that will stand. Obey his commandments, and I will receive you and forgive you for his sake, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” (The Blood of Christ section “Heaven’s Etiquette’ pg. 10 Logos ed.).
65. We read in Genesis 6 of the call of Noah. What was the world like in Noah’s day?
We read that the sons of God who were the descendants of Seth began to marry the daughters of men, the descendants of Cain. The sons of God had before this time remained separate from the corrupting influence of the descendants of Cain but now they were seduced and the whole world became corrupt before Yahweh, being filled with violence, men’s hearts were evil continually. Only Noah found grace in Yahweh’s sight (Genesis 6).
What does this teach us about marrying outside of the truth?
Being unequally yoked with unbelievers is always dangerous, much more so in the closest union of all - marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14).
In the Doctrines to be rejected No. 34 (pg. 130) marriage with the unbeliever is stated to be unlawful. Bro. Thomas commenting upon the marriages between the sons of God (or descendants of Seth) and the daughters of men says “This was a fatal step. Can a man take fire into his bosom, and not be burned? The sons of God corrupted themselves in marrying the daughters of Cain. Instead of bringing them over to ‘the way of the tree of life,’ they were beguiled into ‘the way of Cain’ (Jude 11). For sons of God to marry daughters of Belial is to jeopardize their fidelity to God. This practice has ever been fruitful of apostasy.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Antediluvian apostasy’ pg. 121). Therefore the wisdom of God directs that if a baptized member of Christ’s body should be attracted to someone outside of the Truth of necessity do their utmost to engender an interest in that person of the Hope that they have so that that interested friend would themselves desire to share in that hope, and seek baptism before marriage.
What did Yahweh call upon Noah to do?
Noah was commanded to build an ark to save him and his family because Yahweh was going to bring a great flood upon the earth and destroy all flesh. For a period of 120 years Yahweh showed His longsuffering and mercy during which time Noah built this huge vessel and preached to the Antediluvians, warning them of Yahweh’s coming judgments. But they would not listen. (Genesis 6:22; Hebrews 11:7; Genesis 7).
After Yahweh had brought all the animals, birds etc. to Noah to be placed in the ark, Noah and his family (8 souls) went into the ark. Yahweh shut the door seven days before the deluge began. What does this signify?
Likewise, those who are responsible, including the friends of Christ will be gathered out of the nations before God judges the world. (Isaiah 26:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:31).
66. What does the flood and ark symbolize?
The apostle Peter likens the salvation Noah experienced in the ark to baptism. As the waters of the flood saved Noah and his family by washing away the sinful Antediluvian world, so too are our sins washed away at baptism. By baptism we enter Christ who is our ark of safety. If we continue to walk in this newness of life, which we put on at baptism, we will be found “in Christ,” at the Lord’s appearing. We will be saved when Yahweh pours out His judgments on a world, which Christ said would be just as it was in the days of Noah at His second advent. (1 Peter 3:20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27; Luke 17:26-27).
What was the symbol of God’s covenant with Noah after he came out of the ark and what does it signify?
As a token of the covenant that Yahweh would never destroy the earth again by a flood He set a rainbow in the cloud. This token of the covenant looks forward to that time after Christ’s return and God’s judgments have cleansed the world of all unrighteousness when the world will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh. (Revelation 4:2; Revelation 10; Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 11:9).
What races came from Noah’s three sons Ham, Shem and Japheth?
Ham is the father of the dark races, Japheth of the Gentiles and Shem is the progenitor through which Abraham and the Jews came (Genesis 10).
67. After the flood and as man began to multiply again in the earth, the scriptures tell us that the population contrary to God’s will remained together as a group and moved east into the area of Shinar (Babylon) where they built the Tower of Babel. Was this pleasing to God?
68. What did Yahweh do at the Tower of Babel?
Yahweh wanted Noah’s descendants to multiply and replenish the earth so the Elohim (Angels) confounded man’s language giving man a multiplicity of tongues so that they would be scattered abroad over the face of the earth (Genesis 9:1 & 11:6-9).
Do you think this confusion of tongues will go on forever?
No. The prophet Zephaniah states that after the great battle of Armageddon Yahweh in the kingdom age will “turn to the people a pure language,” then the nations of the earth will “serve Him with one consent.” (Revelation 16:14-16; Zephaniah 3: 8-9).