Christ (Part 6)

(Part 6)

James T. Naismith

It is with sincere appreciation to Dr. James, T. Naismith of Scarborough, Ontario, a retired physician who now devotes his full time to Bible teaching, that with this brief study he concludes his extended series on Genesis.

Copyright by Everyday Publications Inc.; used by permission.

B. Typical Events

A number of incidents recorded in Genesis, which have very interesting typical meanings and abound in spiritual lessons — for example, the flood, the offering of Isaac, and the finding of a bride for Isaac — have already been considered in some detail.

C. Typical Objects

The coats of skin; with which God clothed Adam and Eve after the Fall (Gen. 3:21), implying, as they do, the sacrificial death of an animal, are one of the first Old Testament pictures of God’s provision of a garment of righteousness and salvation for guilty man through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

Abel’s sacrifice (Gen. 4:4) also prefigured the offering of the Lamb of God.

Noah’s ark is, as has been noted, a very beautiful picture of the shelter provided by Christ in the storm of divine judgment.

The altars, upon which the patriarchs offered their sacrifices, pointed forward to One of whom it is written, “We have an altar,” Heb. 13:10 — who is, for us, Priest (prefigured by Melchizedek), Sacrifice (illustrated by Isaac, Gen. 22), and Altar.

3. The Person of Christ in Genesis Not only is Christ predicted in prophecies and prefigured in pictures in Genesis, He is also presented in person. As we study this book, we read remarkable statements anticipating His coming, and see apt illustrations of His person and work. On numerous occasions, we actually meet the Lord Himself.

The New Testament makes it clear that no man hath seen God at any time, John 1:18. Yet frequently in the book of Genesis — and throughout the Old Testament — the Lord revealed Himself to many of the characters. For example, we read, “The Lord had said unto Abraham”; “The word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a vision”; “The Lord appeared to Abraham,” Gen. 12:1; 15:1, 17:1, 18:1. He appeared in such a real, bodily fashion that His feet could be washed, Gen. 18:4, and He could partake of food, vv. 5-8. The second half of John 1:18 explains this apparent contradiction: “the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” While this verse refers primarily to His earthly sojourn, when the Son of God perfectly revealed the glory of God’s character and being, there is no doubt that it includes and explains these appearances of God described in the Old Testament, which are called Theophanies. They were thus really Christophanies —manifestations of the pre-incarnate Christ. Such occasions, when men had the unspeakable privilege of seeing, hearing and speaking with the Son of God prior to the days of His flesh, are, of course, not confined to Genesis. Among the more familiar examples in subsequent Old Testament books are the Lord’s revelation of Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3), to Joshua as “Captain of the Lord’s host” (Josh. 5:13-15), to Gideon as he “threshed wheat by the winepress” (Judges 6:11-24), to Isaiah “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Is. 6:1), and with Daniel’s three associates in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:24-25).

In recording several of these incidents, the Old Testament writers use the title, “the Angel of the Lord,” or “the Angel of God.” A careful study of the instances where these expressions occur leads to the conclusion that they are descriptions of the Lord and that these events were also Christophanies. Three characters in Genesis had the privilege of meeting with or hearing “the Angel of the Lord.”

1. Hagar (Gen. 16:7-13), to whom “the Angel of the Lord” brought comfort, assurance, guidance and promises, in her loneliness in the wilderness, having fled from Sarah, Hagar recognized the Angel as the Lord Himself, for “she called the name of the Lord who spoke unto her, ‘Thou God seest me.’”

2. Abraham (Gen. 22:11-18), to whom “the Angel of the Lord called … out of heaven,” restraining his hand when he was about to slay his son, and subsequently renewing the promises of blessing to him and his seed. With confidence resulting from his experience, Abraham could assure his servant, whom he dispatched on a mission to obtain a bride for his son, that “the Lord God of heaven … shall send His angel” to guide and prosper him on his way (Gen. 24:7, 40).

3. Jacob, too, recognized the voice of “The Angel of God” (Gen.31:11-13), who revealed Himself to him as “The God of Bethel” whom he had met twenty years earlier at the beginning of his journey from his home to a strange land from which he was not returning. The “Man” who wrestled with him at Peniel (Gen. 32:24-32), and whom he recognized as God (“I have seen God face to face” — v. 30), is referred to by Hosea (12:4) as the “Angel” — another confirmation that “the Angel” is none other than the Lord Himself.