Genesis has a character of its own; and, as the beginning of the Holy Book, presents to us all the great elementary principles which find their development in the history of the relationships of God with man, which is recorded in the following books. The germ of each of these principles will be found here, unless we except the law. There was however a law given to Adam in his innocence; and Hagar, we know, prefigures at least Sinai. There is scarce anything afterwards accomplished of which t...

From the Editor’s Notebook: Pointers on the Pentateuch, Genesis

From the Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey

Pointers on the Pentateuch

Genesis: The Book of Beginnings

Key Word: Beginning.

Message: Man’s sin met by God’s salvation.

Key Verses: 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” 3:15 — “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”


In many ways Genesis is the most important book in the Bible. Every great truth springs from this book, just as great and mighty oaks spring from little acorns. E. W. Bullinger has said: “Genesis is the seed-plot of the whole Bible, and it is essential to the true understanding of its every part. It is the foundation on which the Divine Revelation rests, and on which it is built up. It is not only the foundation of all Truth, but it enters into and forms part of all subsequent inspiration; and it is at once the warp and woof of Holy Writ.”

Introductory Remarks

It had been well if the first verse, and beginning of the second, had been separated from the after verses, and entitled chapter 1 and thus seen to be distinct from the narrative of God’s constituting the earth as a suitable abode for His creature man. The second verse says that the earth, ere God began again to work upon it, was “tohu,” rendered “without form.” But Isa. 45:18, asserts that God did not create it “tohu.” And in Isa. 34:11, the same two words occur precisely as w...


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. Preface 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 cann...

The Lord’s Way with Noah, the Saint for the Earth.

Section 1. Noah, previous to the Deluge. Genesis 6-8:19. Chapter 6, to Ver. 13. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It does not follow because one is a saint that his children are also and all of them saints. Too well, alas! we know the contrary. These patriarchs, mentioned by name in chap. 5, may have been, and probably were, all truly acquainted with God themselves; but each of them begat children, and there is no proof that their children all followed in their parents’ fai...

The Lord's Way with Isaac, the Typical Son

Genesis 25:11 to end of 27.

Chapter 25:11. Now the fifth of the seven representative men of Genesis is fully before us. Here, it is submitted, we have the divine teaching in the type of Isaac, as to a Christian’s standing and sonship. For, on account of the reason already assigned in chap. 21, Isaac here seems rather to represent the sons, than the Son. Only as an adult, and during his father’s life, is he the type of the Son. And first, at the very outset, and in a most marked and definite manner, the proper status and dwelling-place of Isaac are set before us. “With designed prominence is the statement in the text given, “Isaac dwelt by the well of the living and seeing One” (25:11). When just now we come to chap. 26, we shall have to revert to this important passage, as the clue to that entire chapter. But I take occasion hence at once to call attention to the place where a believer, as a risen son of God, is ultimately to be brought, and where by faith he should constantly abide, even now. I mean, of course, the presence of God, and under the very eye of God. There is no perfect, enduring rest anywhere else. Eph. 5:27; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24; and especially for now, 2 Cor. 3:18.

The Lord's Way with Abraham, the Believer.

Section 1.
Abraham’s call to Canaan. His blessing by Melchisedek, after the slaughter of the kings.

Genesis 12-14.

Chapters 12 to 14. At the opening of my remarks I stated that the entire history in Genesis clusters round what is recorded of the Lord’s dealings with seven representative men—Adam, figure of Christ; Enoch and Noah, who set forth the two distinctive calls of God, now of some to heaven, and presently of others to earth; Abraham, the believer, the father of believers; Isaac, the son; Jacob, the servant; Joseph, the ruler. These seven men appear subdivided into three and four. We have briefly touched upon the way of God with each of the first three. We come now to look at His varying action with the first of the last four—varying according as Abraham is trustful and obedient, or whether he gets away from God, and falls into sin. And surely to study how the Lord gradually led on Abraham step by step from one degree of faith to another, culminating in his ready obedience to offer up his only-begotten son, the child of promise, at the call of God, seeing that we too are exhorted to grow in the knowledge of God, that we too are believers, who should be learning to trust Him more implicitly and more obediently every year and month of our lives, surely in this growth of faith we cannot but be much helped by carefully observing the Lord’s way with Abraham.

The Lord's Way With Enoch, the Saint for Heaven

Genesis 4 and 5.

Chapter 4. Here at once we see the amazing difference between the two seeds—the holy one hated and murdered, and the wicked his murderer. We are all aware that the fullest display of this hostility of the wicked towards the righteous and the holy is beheld in the Cross of the Son of God, and again in the rejection of the Holy Ghost by the world now. For through that blessed Spirit Christ is formed in us; and as the new life is developed in us, so it is opposed still and rejected (Rom. 8:36).

Of the seed of Cain there are many on the list whose names are identical with or similar to the sons of God (professing) in the next chapter. Compare chap. 4:17, 18, with those whose names we find in chap. 5. It is the same still. The greatest haters of God in the world have, many of them, been those who once promised fair. But especially, as in chap. 5, there seems a sort of climax reached in what is recorded of Enoch, and of his holy walk; so, conversely, here we have a hellish climax reached in what is recorded of the lust, and murder, and scornful infidelity of Lamech, the descendant of Cain. For the patience of God ripens the saint and the sinner both.

The Lord's Way With Adam, the Type of Him That is to Come.

Genesis 1-3

At the outset it is advisable that we should state that the variation in the Name divine found in these chapters is perfectly intentional. Fools may laugh and cite this admitted variation as a proof that Moses was a mere compiler, putting his narrative together from various shreds of tradition extant in his day. We know better. We know that this is the Word of God. True, that in chapter 1 this name is Elohim, or God; that in chapters 21 and 3 it is Jehovah-Elohim; whilst in chapter 4 it is Jehovah. This change of term to an intelligent reader of Scripture ought to be at once some clue to the history itself. For Elohim is His name as Creator; Jehovah-Elohim is the revelation of that Creator in relationship with His creature; whilst His name Jehovah reveals Him still, indeed, in relationship, but no longer on the ground of mere creation. Surely we may exclaim, “How beautifully exact is all this!”

Chapter 1 shows us God preparing a home, replete with every comfort and blessing for His creature; and then, secondly, His formation of that creature, and

His placing him in the home prepared for him. Even for the very cattle the earth was suitably adapted, ere those cattle were called into existence. It would be quite foreign to the subject assigned me, and to the limits within which it must be contained, to enlarge upon every verse. All that is proposed is to present a general survey of the entire book of Genesis as a whole. Let it therefore be perfectly understood that I refrain myself from remarking upon many expressions on which one might easily dilate. Suffice it to say that the six days’ work is subdivided into two threes, in which the light, the waters, and the earth, are severally addressed twice.

The Early Chapters of Genesis

(Bible Treasury Volumes N1 & 2, 1896-1898, [36 sections].)

Genesis 10:1.

This comprehensive, instructive, and interesting chapter, followed by Gen. 11:1-9 which has its own special importance, is devoted to a description of a new element among mankind, its various nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue. Before the deluge no such distinctions subsisted. Immense as the population might be, they were not thus associated any more than marked off one from another. Jehovah took care that the line of Seth should be guarded for His ways then, and for His purposes in the future. There were moral differences between Cain and his descendants from early days; and an awful form of creature lawlessness arose before God executed judgment on all flesh in an earth corrupt before Him, and filled with violence. But there was no government on the one hand yet established by God, nor was there any division into nations, nor yet diversity of language.

After the flood God had introduced the principle of government, committing the charge into the hands of men. As the next fact of the widest moment for the earth, the origin of the nations which were about to play their part is made known to us; and this with a special view to His choice of a people for Himself, and separated to Himself. Even it is seen first tried and failing through sin, as Adam had been in the world before the flood. Of this the O.T. is the ample witness and the awful proof, before His grace intervenes in the Second man and the Messiah of Israel to deliver both man and Israel, as He will the church and the universe, on the ground of divine righteousness and ever enduring mercy to the praise of Himself and the Lamb.

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