The World to Come, and the Divine Preparations for it.
“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.”—Acts 15:18.
pavnta oJrivzetai tw'/ tevlei.
London: John F. Shaw & Co.,
48, Paternoster Row, E.O.
The endeavour, in the following pages, is mainly to draw out the teaching of this book viewed as a whole. No doubt each of its many chapters abounds in instruction; and inasmuch as it narrates the history of the early patriarchs, one cannot but linger over the lessons suggested by each inspired sketch successively presented to us, and even by the various incidents of each several life selected by the Spirit for our study. And this, as it is the usual method of reading this book, so it is a very profitable one. Nevertheless, since each book of God’s Word is one only of God’s own divisions or chapters, so it is surely well for us clearly to ascertain what He would have us learn, from one such division or book of His, regarded in its entirety.
For instance, there may be a parallel designed by Him, and therefore to be reverently instituted by us between the account of God’s work in the Creation and the Lord’s ways with the seven representative men of this book. Thus as in Chapter I., so, too, in the body of the book, the marked twofoldedness of the realms of God—to wit, in heaven and in earth—is seen in the different call of Enoch on the one hand, from that of Noah on the other. So likewise, also in Chapter 1, the call of God produces Light on the very first day. Yet the distinction is evident of this light from the Sun itself, whose beams of glory shone out unhindered not until the fourth day. 2 Cor. 3:18 with 4:6. For as the Spirit was, in a certain sense, in the world even before the man Christ Jesus was raised up and seated upon God’s throne, yet is that Spirit fully now poured out from the Son glorified; so in the narrative, after the picture of Abraham the believer, we are instructed as to His way with Isaac the son. For it is because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. Or, once more, there is alike at the close of this book, as well as at the end of the account of the Creation, the Rule over all in the hands of a man. These are fainter specimens in the first chapter, of what we find to be much more distinctly foreshadowed in the course of the entire panorama of the other forty-nine chapters. They serve to premonish us that the book of Genesis should be primarily regarded as connected in its lessons from end to end.
It would seem as if the main lessons of the book are two: one is, how the Rule erst entrusted to man, but lost through sin, shall yet again, in an enlarged and universal form, be seen in Human hands. For contrast the type of Joseph with that of Adam. And secondly, we learn how God’s own people shall be blessed in that coming Lord, some in the heavenlies, and some in the earthlies, and in divers concentric circles of glory, as displayed in His ways of grace with Enoch and Noah; and in his disciplinary dealings and training of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob.