God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16b)MERCY INTERNATIONAL
School of Jesus Christ.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH
Outline of Study.
1) The Beginning.
2) The First Seven Days.
3) The Word of God (The Logos).
a) The Hebrew Language.
b) The Formation of Scripture.
c) The Canon.
d) The Hebrew Scriptures.
e) The New Testament Scriptures.
f) The Life of the Scriptures.
g) The Completion of the Scripture (Revelation of John).
h) The Confirmation of the Complete Scriptural Revelation.
i) The Translation and Distribution of the Holy Scripture.
j) The History of the Church of Jesus Christ.
4) God's Unchanging Gospel:
What this means for interpretation of the Scriptures.
5) God's desire for MERCY as the expression of LOVE.
IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH.
AND THE EARTH WAS WITHOUT FORM AND VOID;
AND DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP.
AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED UPON THE FACE OF THE WATERS.
AND GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT: AND THERE WAS LIGHT.
AND GOD SAW THE LIGHT, THAT IT WAS GOOD:
AND GOD DIVIDED THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS.
AND GOD CALLED THE LIGHT DAY,
AND THE DARKNESS HE CALLED NIGHT.
AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE FIRST DAY.
1) The Beginning.God created a universe of time and space: there was a beginning of time. God is the eternal being (the self-existent one) who desired to create a universe in which he could reveal his soul and his love. In order to do this he created other living souls to inhabit the universe. At the beginning of time he created the heaven and the earth: there is both a spiritual and a physical quality of the universe. The earth was created beneath the heaven, it was without form, and there was darkness. The spirit of God moved within the universe. God spoke and there was light, and he saw that it was good. God began the process of time by alternating the darkness and the light, and the evening and the morning were the first day.
AND GOD SAID,
LET THERE BE A FIRMAMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS,
AND LET IT DIVIDE THE WATERS FROM THE WATERS.
AND GOD MADE THE FIRMAMENT,
AND DIVIDED THE WATERS WHICH WERE UNDER THE FIRMAMENT FROM THE WATERS WHICH WERE ABOVE THE FIRMAMENT:
AND IT WAS SO.
AND GOD CALLED THE FIRMAMENT HEAVEN.
AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE SECOND DAY.
2) The First Seven Days.God formulated the first week as an example to his children. He spent the first six days developing his creation and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. Having set up the passage (or rotation) of night and day, and shining the light of goodness into the universe by his Word, God proceeded to lay down the physical laws of his creation. God made order and he made the firmament which divided and distinguished the physical and spiritual universe. God called the firmament Heaven.
On the third day God separated Earth and Seas, saw that it was good, and God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
God formed complete, healthy plants, fully functioning, containing living cells with perfect DNA, filled with the information and design to produce all the genetic variety and beauty of the botanical world. This is the beginning of physical, biological life on earth. God's abundant spirit of love and joy found expression in colour, perfume, and supremely intricate biochemistry.
Following Theology, Physics, and Biology, the Fourth Day gives us Astronomy:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
God made the Sun, Moon, and Stars. The electromagnetic nature of the physical heavens is revealed in greater detail in the vast expanse of all the galaxies and in our own Solar System and its planetary systems.
Created Souls (Zoology):
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of the heaven.
The Fifth Day of the First Week saw the creation of living souls. God poured his lifeblood into his creation - the precursor to our very own first parents.
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
The Sixth Day of Creation:
It was the last day of God's creative work which saw animals formed on the dry land -
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth, after his kind: and it was so.
Then, finally, Humanity is born.
And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
3) The Word of God (The Logos).The Word of God is living. The Word of God is spoken. The Word of God is personal. The Word of God is Jesus Christ.
There is a written form of the Word of God - The Bible Scriptures - which reveal the historical and eternal person of Jesus Christ. He is the personal Word of God. The living personal God spoke in history through Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible scriptures.
The consequence of mankind's sin is that God desired to shed his own blood to make manifest his perfect love for his creatures in their salvation: by grace through our faith. Jesus Christ took upon himself flesh and blood so that he might sacrifice himself for us.
The Levite Moses compiled and wrote the opening book of the Bible scriptures for the benefit of the nation of Israel in the Hebrew language, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. This book extended to the five books of The Law as we know them today. Subsequent prophets raised up by God, beginning with Joshua (the same name as Jesus) were inspired to append further documents to this Book of the Law.
The completed written testament of the Nation of Israel contains thirty nine documents as we know them today - the five of Moses, twenty one further books of the Prophets, and thirteen books known as the Writings. They all speak of the saviour. There are some thousand years between the time of Moses and the last prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi.
It was a further four hundred years before Christ Jesus was born of a woman. After his death, resurrection and ascension, twenty seven further documents witnessing to the life of Christ were appended to the scriptures by prophets who witnessed his bodily resurrection.
The apostle John (meaning God is gracious) completed the last book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, in Ephesus, Asia Minor, about sixteen hundred years after Moses was inspired to write the first book of Scripture. This prepares the way for the return of Christ to bring final judgement to the world.
Since the completion of the canon of scriptures the manuscripts have been copied and distributed far and wide by the congregation of Jesus Christ. Our living God has provided trustworthy conditions for correct copying and subsequent translation to take place. The correct scriptures can be found to have been provided for the faithful by faithful, humble men such as William Tyndale who first translated the Bible into english from copies in the original languages. (Fifteen hundred years after the Crucifixion). He was executed for his faithful efforts.
Rome has influenced Church doctrine since Christ and the seed of corruption has grown powerfully within it. Those Christians who trust solely in Christ have sought in history to bring the truth to light by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Conflicting denominations in Christendom have fought each other over doctrinal difference but the canon of sixty six documents is established and the so-called King James Bible (first edition 1611) is translated from acceptable manuscripts.
Various cults and groups attempt to change the canon (e.g. Rome adds Apocryphal books) and many use alternative, faulty corrupted manuscripts for alternative translations (see 1881 - the "Revised Version" - and on up to the plethora of texts today).
The Word of God must be primary to all who trust in him. The King James Bible (based on the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Textus Receptus New Testament) is the best and only trustworthy english translation of the complete Word of God in circulation, which we should hear, read and study with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us come together to the Word of God in the english language and seek his person and fellowship as a coherent believing body. Amen.
4) God's Unchanging Gospel:
What this means for interpretation of the Scriptures.
There is no warrant for Genesis chapter 3 verse 21 involving God slaughtering his own creatures (this is in agreement with J.Calvin - see his commentary on Genesis, though he is almost unique in modern commentators on this) or for Abel's offering involving bloodshed. Animal fat includes milk, and we can offer God's creatures back to him just as we raise each other up in prayer - we do not shed each other's blood to do this. It is another case of religious perverted mankind seeing himself and interpreting the past by man's standards instead of by God's standard, his Word (Jesus Christ). Abraham almost certainly did this, and as these tribes people killed and ate God's creatures he interpreted the scripture history of Cain and Abel with his own polluted vision.
God said to Abram (Genesis chapter 15 verse 9):
And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
God did not say kill them!
But Abram 'divided them in the midst' except the birds.
In Genesis chapter 15 verse 12:-
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Abram had chosen his own sinful religious perversions, not God's grace and love. Yet the longsuffering God continues to pledge his faithfulness to his chosen ones.
Religious Christianity revels in bloodshed and God's ransom, because we are selfish looking for our salvation and not God's purity. Yes we are washed by Christ's blood because he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Book of Revelation) and fulfilling all prophecy of the man of sorrows.
God knows he must lay out laws in detail for us because we are so corrupt in spirit and cannot be trusted. The purpose of the Leviticus laws is to give the Jews the very serious, sorrowful and solemn attitude towards killing to provide food and nourishment - a consequence of mankind's sin. Also they were to regulate hygiene because animal foods can be so highly toxic and disease-causing.
God's way of salvation is unchanging by his grace. Animal sacrifice never saved anyone - it was intended to point to God's gift of life by his grace and mercy, not as some shopping trip to pay for our sins like the Roman Catholics.
God had his perfect place for every creature in his perfect creation. If there could have been predation in the world before man's sin then how can we hope for a world free of pain in the world to come? Of course most Christians attempt to avoid the question of animals in the new heaven and earth - what will the spiders do then?
Cannibalism, carnivorism and death all came after man's sin. We have invited viruses into our bodies by our sin. Corruptible flesh will be replaced by incorruptible, for all creatures. All creatures will have perfect fellowship with their redeemer, and the redeemed children of God will carry in their hearts the knowledge of God's perfect mercy and love for them despite their past rebellion and all its horrific consequences - filling us with overflowing love for all the beauty of our Lord and his creation.
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