Friday, October 19, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 21, 2018

Over 176,000 readers worldwide

(GOD keeps HIS promises)
(Genesis 18:1-15 and 21:1-7)

   In biblical times in the land of ancient Palestine, inns, hotels, and motels were very scarce, and so many travelers had to rely on its citizens to be hospitable towards each other. Here in Genesis 18 we see the seriousness exhibited by Abraham in his desire to welcome strangers in his home as he offers three men (angels) a royal welcome into his abode.
    One day around noon Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent when he espied three men standing nearby. This passage tells us that Abraham jumped up and ran to meet them, bowing to them, showing the greatest of respect and acknowledgement, even calling them “LORD” (this indicates that he knew that they represented Divinity before him) and requesting that they abide with him for a while.
    Abraham offered that they rest in the shade of one of Mambre’s oak trees, and allow his servants to bring them water to drink, and to wash their tired feet (v.4). In addition, he offers to prepare them fresh food (not leftovers), for them to be filled before they continued on their way (v.5). And so we see here, the great lengths to which a person should go to welcome another person into their home, because we never know (like in this case) when we may be entertaining “an angel of the LORD”. 
    Notice that the first verse in this chapter indicates that “the LORD” appeared again to Abraham, and so at least one of these men was an actual “Theophany” of CHRIST, or, represented one of several Old Testament appearances by CHRIST JESUS” (Genesis 18:20-21 and 22:11-17, Exodus 3:2-3, Joshua 5:13-15, Numbers 22:21-35, and Judges 2:1-5).
    And so, after the three angels accepted Abraham’s invitation, he ran back to the tent and instructed his wife Sarah to help him prepare the meal for them. After the food was prepared, Abraham took it and served it to his honored guests, and then, respectfully waited for them to finish eating.
    One of the angels then requested to know where Sarah was, and Abraham responded that she was in the tent. “The angel of the LORD” then informed Abraham that by this time next year HE would return and Sarah would be nursing their very own son, conceived of their own bodies in their old age. Sarah, who was listening from their tent, laughed silently to herself, thinking, “How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby? Especially when my husband too, is so old”
    However, the LORD divinely perceived Sarah’s thoughts and said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?” Is anything too hard for the LORD? The LORD then iterates HIS previous statement to Abraham, and upon hearing it again, Sarah became afraid and denied that she had laughed. However, the LORD rebuked her telling her “That is not true, you did laugh”. 
    The promises GOD makes to us are often concerning things that are “humanly impossible” to achieve, and despite our doubt, HE humors us, and brings those promises into reality anyway. Here in this passage we see, for the first time, GOD actually giving this aging couple “an exact time-frame” for the birth of their son, who would be named “Isaac”, and HE reminds them that nothing is impossible for HIM to do. GOD is able to work with us through our limitations and imperfections, even when we exercise less than “mustard-seed faith” in HIS divine, unlimited abilities.     

Genesis 21:1-7

  In Genesis 21, verses 1-7, we see GOD’s promise to Abraham and Sarah finally being realized, and it is exactly at the appointed time. The silent laughter of both Abraham (Genesis 17:17) and Sarah (Genesis 18:12), because of their unbelieving spirit, is now turned into loud laughter of joy that can be shared by both, their family, and friends. And it had been made possible because they had both finally, through increased faith, turned themselves over to GOD, whole-heartedly and completely.
    This account in the lives of this aging couple serves to remind us forever, and to assure each of us individually, that, the seemingly impossible things in life are put here to serve as proof, that all things become possible for us when we serve the Almighty, sovereign GOD, the CREATOR of the universe, in total faith.
    As “human beings” living in this world, we seem to always attempt to solve our problems by taking matters in our own hands. However, after we become Christians, we need to develop a different mindset, calling on the advice found in GOD’s Word, and the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, to lead and guide us out of our own, self-imposed predicaments.
     Unfortunately though, we often continue on in “our worldly mindset” long after we’ve professed to have accepted the wonderful gift of salvation, and vowed to GOD that we are ready to place our lives into HIS protective hands. We seem to have a difficult time resisting the urge to try and move forward without the help of the only wise GOD WHO is physically invisible to us. We have to have faith in someone (GOD) other than what we see physically every day. As human beings, our mind finds abstract things hard to grasp and embrace, because we have to do so with our spirit, through our faith.
    When we develop an experiential relationship of friendship with GOD, we can then allow HIM to work in our lives through prayer, and by being patient and waiting on HIM to answer at perfectly the right time. Our trust in GOD should buttress our patience, so that, over time, we won’t see GOD as not moving fast enough, and begin to take foolish and prideful measures, thinking that we need to “help GOD out”.
    The only real way we can help GOD, or ourselves, is by being obedient to HIS Word. When we foolishly attempt to interfere with GOD’s speed, we often end up sinning against HIM, and thereby, we delay HIS promise and blessing that HE has already prepared for us.
    Abraham and Sarah are one of Scripture’s greatest examples of people who delayed their blessings and promise from GOD, by trying to “help GOD out”. First they brought their servant girl, Hagar, into their bedroom to try and produce a child totally outside of the will of GOD’s plan for them. This human act, of course, eventually caused a lot of strife in their family, and, as a result, they ended up waiting seventeen more years for their promised son, Isaac, to be born through their union.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, October 12, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 14, 2018

Over 176,000 readers worldwide

(From Shem to Abraham)
(Genesis 11:10-26)

   This is the “vertical” genealogical record that traces the line of descendants from Noah’s son, Shem, to Abram (later called Abraham). This list successfully shows the legitimate ancestry of the Shemites, and is generally used to trace the origins of that group of the human race, who would later be named by GOD as “HIS chosen people” (Israel), and whom, the world now knows as “the Jews”. This section of chapter 11, is an airtight chronology that distinguishes Abraham as the towering figure, to whom, all Jews trace their origin.
    Unlike the list in chapter 5, this chronology here in verses 10-26 of chapter 11, does not tell of the total number of years that each person lived, and at what age they died. Whereas the section of Genesis 5:1-6:8 stresses “death before the Flood”, here in this section of chapter 11, we see an emphasis on “life and expansion after the Flood”, even though the earthly lifespan of man had been decreased significantly by GOD, because of the onset of sin into “the human race”.
(Genesis 11:27-32)

   Here begins what is now known as “the Patriarchal Narratives of the Bible” (Genesis 11:27-50:26). They detail the history and origin of the Jews, beginning with Abram (later called Abraham), who was the son of Terah.
    Abram, had two brothers, whose names were Nahor and Haran. Haran was the father of Lot, whom would later become the responsibility of, and figure prominently in, the life and chronicles of Abraham. Haran died at an early age, while they were still living in their birthplace, which was called “Ur”, located in the land of the Chaldeans.
    Abram married Sarai, who could not bear children at that time, and his brother Nahor, married Milcah, one of the daughters of his deceased brother, Haran (Haran’s other daughter was named Iscah). After this, Terah, who was an idolater, moved his family, including his sons and their wives, and his grandson Lot, out of Ur, with intentions to move to the land of Canaan. However, they made a stop in a place called “Haran” (no connection to his dead son), which was known at that time as “sin city”.
    Through spiritual eyes, one can clearly see this as an early attempt by satan, on a “paganist thinking person”, like Terah, to interrupt the line of the coming MESSIAH, through the family that GOD would later sanction to begin with Abraham and Sarah.
    These attempted evil strategies by satan are something that can often be detected throughout the annals of Old Testament literature, if we apply our spiritual self to the reading of Scriptures (allow ourselves to be led by the SPIRIT). Terah lived out the remainder of his life (205 years) there in Haran with his family.


   Abram, whose name GOD later changed to “Abraham”, was born and raised in the fabled city of Ur. Ur was located in the southern division of ancient Babylonia known as “Sumer” (SOO-mehr), which was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (now southern Iraq). Sumer is the territory referred to as “Shinar” in the Old Testament (Genesis 10:10). It was a part of the kingdom of the great Nimrod who attempted to build the infamous “Tower of Babel” there.
   The Sumerians, developed the first “high living civilization” in the history of mankind, and Ur was the center of their rich culture. They were the first people to develop a writing style that consisted of “Cuneiform script”, which were “wedged shaped” characters that became synonymous with Persian and Babylonian culture and literature. They were proud of their vast wealth, monumental architecture, grand homes, music, and art.
    While living in this ultra “worldly” culture, Abram worshiped many gods (Joshua 24:2), however, when the real and true GOD spoke to him, he was willing to leave this enchanting atmosphere, and travel, “on faith”, to the unknown land of Canaan, where he would live a “nomadic” life in tents for nearly 100 years. He traded the fading glory that is inevitable in the world, for a personal, trusting, eternal relationship with GOD.
    Here in Genesis chapter 12 we see the literal “calling” of Abram by GOD, into a life-changing commitment of humility and dependence on the promises of the only wise, sovereign CREATOR of the universe. Abram was 75 years old when he first received instructions from GOD to leave the land in which he was born, including, leaving his relatives and the entire house of his father (v.1).
    Abram, in spite of those instructions from the LORD, decided to take his nephew Lot and all of his clan with him (v.5). This disobedience would later cause many problems for Abram as we shall see (Genesis 13:5-7, 14:11-16, and 18:22-33).
    We see beginning in verse 2, GOD reeling off a list of five promises to Abram that will not all be realized in his lifetime. Here HE tells Abram that;

·         I will cause you to become the father of a great nation
·         I will bless you and make you famous
·         I will make you a blessing to others
·         I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you
·         All the families of the earth will be blessed through you  

    And so Abram left Haran and traveled to the land of Canaan. While traveling through Canaan, he came to a place near Shechem where he set up camp beside the oak trees at “Moreh” (which means “teacher”). This is significant in that, the Canaanites had worship shrines already set up there in the area among the oak trees of Moreh, and this in fact may have been the site of one or more of their many cult worship centers.
    Ironically, it is here that the LORD appeared to Abram and informed him that “this land will be given to your offspring”. And so Abram built a shrine for the LORD, right there among the shrines of the pagans. Perhaps this bodes as a symbolic gesture that the GOD of all gods was about to manifest HIS glorious presence in the cursed land of the Canaanites. Stay tuned.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, October 5, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 7, 2018

Over 175,000 readers worldwide

(GOD uses obedient people for HIS purpose)
(Genesis 6)

   Whenever society becomes racked and marked by perpetual wickedness and violence, the likelihood of divine judgment will always loom greater, and ever closer to realization. In the days of Noah the corruption of human civilization had become so great that, if GOD did not choose to intervene at that time, man, HIS greatest creation, would have become extinct by their own hands.
    Here in Genesis chapter 6 we see just such a scenario being played out in grand and historical fashion. When the human population began to grow rapidly on the earth, the sons of GOD “(the fallen angels” under satan’s command, “bene ha elohim” in the Hebrew), saw the beautiful women of the human race, and began to forcefully take them as if they were their wives. They conceived children with them that grew to become “giants” on the earth (“nephilims”), and they vexed GOD’s SPIRIT greatly with their sins, and caused HIM to severely limit the days of man’s lifespan here on earth to no more than 120 years.
    The term “Nephilim”, used here, comes from the Hebrew verb “naphal” and it means “to fall” in general, but further, and perhaps more so, it is associated with “violence”, and here in verse 4 of this passage it is translated “to overthrow and fall upon with violence”. Also, however, in the book of Numbers it is translated as “men of great stature” in its noun form. And so, in the collective sense, it describes “men of violence who were imposingly great in statue (400+ feet tall), and had no regard or respect for anyone but themselves.
    However, as the LORD observed the growing extent of the people’s wickedness, and HE saw that all of their thoughts were consistently and totally evil because of this spiritual contamination by satan (v.5), HE was saddened that HE had ever made them and decided that HE would go ahead and destroy almost all of HIS earthly creation and start all over with one family, Noah’s, and one male and one female of every kind (prototype, or genes) of wildlife and domesticated animal on earth at that time (Vs.5-8).
    One might say, “Well, didn’t GOD know that this would happen in the first place, after all, HE is omniscient (All Knowing). However, GOD’s omniscience and foreknowledge does not rescind HIS gift to man of “free will”. GOD gives us “wills that are free”, and man will always retain the right to choose, or make his or her own decisions, no matter what. GOD always grants us “freedom of choice”.
    In verse 9 we see, for the first time in Scripture, that the word “righteous” (“just” and “perfect”) is applied to describe a human being, as it is used here to describe Noah. Here the bible tells us that Noah was, in fact, the only righteous man on earth at that time (the only man seeking to obey GOD), and that he consistently followed GOD’s Will, and as a result, enjoyed a close personal, experiential relationship with HIM.
    To explain the use of this description to describe Noah further, in the biblical Greek there are two words that are used for “good”. One is “kalos”, and it describes “a good that is also lovely”, a divine attribute that can only be spoken of, concerning GOD. It is the “good” that was exemplified by JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOR, while HE lived here on earth. The other is “agathos” which suggests a good that is less than divine, and would dull by comparison to the goodness of GOD. However, by human standards, one would stand out if he or she possessed and practiced this kind of goodness. 
    Because of Noah’s strict adherence to the ways of GOD in his behavior towards, and his training of, his wife and children, Noah’s family was literally the only family left on earth that had not been contaminated spiritually, or affected physically, by the dreadful luciferic intermarriages and behavior of the demonic angels, nor by the subsequent violence, sin and corruption of “their nephilim offspring’s”, who dominated society with a heavy, forceful, and influential hand. Noah stood alone, with his wife and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, exercising their faith in GOD, continuously night and day (Vs. 9-10).
    And while Noah may not have been “good” in the divine sense of being perfect, with man, GOD, WHO is the source of all good and perfection, accredits it (righteousness) to him, based on his desire to obey and serve HIM. The ones who desire to obey GOD are the ones whom GOD surely knows, loves HIM. Men are not good in the same sense that GOD is, but rather, only in a “relative sense of speaking”, for example, as to comparing a man who aspires to obey the will of GOD, to a man who doesn’t.
    With that being said we can now move on to what GOD decides to do with the corrupt society that is depicted here in chapter 6. In verses 14-16 the LORD instructs Noah to make a boat from resinous wood, (wood that is treated with a sticky substance that comes from certain plants, substances such as rosin, lacquer, or varnish), and then, seal it with tar inside and out.
    Next Noah was instructed to construct three decks (bottom, middle, and upper) with stalls throughout the entire interior of the boat, and to incorporate a single door in the side of the boat. The dimensions of the imposing vessel would be 450 feet long (approx. 1 ½ times the length of a football field), 75 feet wide (approx. ½ the width of a football field), and 45 feet high. He was also to construct an opening all the way around the boat, about 18 inches below the roof.
    At this point (Vs.17-22), GOD lets Noah in on HIS plan to destroy the entire earth with a catastrophic flood that would kill everything on earth except he and his family, and the designated animals that would come to him (to be kept alive) to board the ark once it is finished. Noah was to take enough food to last he and his family, and, all the animals, through an ordeal that would comprise a sum total of 377 days.   
    This craft would serve as the vehicle that would carry Noah’s family and his animal cargo safely, through GOD’s “judgment upon the earth”, and “into salvation” in the restored environment of a “washed clean” world. The flood would make a powerful theological statement to mankind, for all time, as it resoundingly re-affirms GOD as the undisputed “moral ruler of the universe”, WHO, can and will, exercise HIS authority and obligation to judge our sin, at HIS OWN appointed time.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, September 28, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 30, 2018

Over 174,000 readers worldwide

(Sin separates us from GOD)
(Genesis 3)

   Before GOD ever made man, the Scriptures tells us that Lucifer had already been ousted from Heaven and confined to the earth where he would be the shrewdest of all the creatures that GOD would create later on (Ezekiel 28:12b-19, Luke 10:18). In actuality, satan ruled, or, had dominion over the earth at that time, as GOD had not yet saw fit to place HIS figurative represent, man, here on earth.
    When GOD created mankind the way we know him now (the creation account of the Christian bible), HE then gave dominion over all things on earth to man, who would serve as HIS personal, figurative, representative, and by doing so, HE automatically usurped satan of his self-appointed position as “prince of the earth”.
    Here in Genesis 3, satan regains control, or dominion over the earth, back from man, because Adam and Eve weren’t willing to do what GOD had commanded them to do in order to keep control of what GOD had given them. There in the Garden of Eden, they accepted satan’s “sin nature” the moment they disobeyed GOD, and as a result, sin and death entered into the world and became a powerful negative force upon man’s existence.
    On that day, the serpent, at that time, a “subordinate to Adam and Eve”, quickly pounced upon his first opportunity to take advantage of his “lackadaisical superiors under GOD”, and became, himself, “the prince of this world” once again. The serpent successfully convinced Eve that her “disobedience” would make her “equal to GOD”, and Adam, who was there with her at the time, apparently agreed (Vs.1-6). It was at that moment that they both realized just how “vulnerable and naked” they were, because they were now, “totally separated” from the GOD, WHO created them, in HIS OWN spiritual image. They were now feeling “the sting of guilt” for the very first time.
    If we are to be victorious in this life, just as JESUS was, we must do so by understanding, remembering, and doing exactly what GOD commands of us in HIS Word, just as JESUS did. In this world, we all eventually come to know we are “naked” and “unprotected” from the subtleness and shrewdness of satan’s temptations, unless we stay in obedience to GOD.
   When we don’t know and adhere to the laws of GOD, it always leaves us vulnerable to satan. A personal relationship with GOD is a relationship that we simply cannot afford to live without. And that relationship must be an “experiential” and “personal” one, the only kind that GOD has to offer us.
    The position of “innocence and peace”, that GOD had placed Adam and Eve in, was destroyed by their yielding to temptation from man’s only enemy, satan. And the consequences of that disobedience would affect the entire human race, for all times. Satan’s shrewd enticement of Adam and Eve will forever remind us that we are never forced to sin, but rather, we are always vulnerable to temptation, and must ultimately “choose” to do the “right” or “wrong” thing.
    For, among all of the wonderful things GOD bestowed upon us, most importantly, and perhaps most critically, HE gave us “wills that are free”. In order to overcome temptation we need to know the Word of GOD accurately, and then, be voluntarily willing to trust in HIS Word and judgment, that it is the very best thing for us to do.
    If we believe GOD’s Word, we believe that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom”. Satan convinced Eve that “disobedience to GOD” was the beginning of knowledge and wisdom”. However, the truth is that, wisdom can never be obtained by disobeying the CREATOR of wisdom, WHO is GOD. GOD’s Word tells us that, before the world was ever created, wisdom already existed with GOD. In other words, GOD created wisdom first, before HE ever created anything else (Proverbs 8:22).
    Following the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve, the spirit of “mistrust” and “alienation” entered into their personal relationship with each other (their marriage), and their personal relationship with GOD (their Faith). They begin to hide themselves from GOD, and made excuses when they were finally confronted by HIM. They both blamed GOD directly for their sin, instead of accepting responsibility for their own “bad choices”. Adam claimed that it was the fault of “the woman GOD made” (v.12), and Eve claimed it was the fault of “the serpent GOD made” (v.13).
    Today we react in the same way that Adam and Eve did when confronted with our sins, but instead, we claim that “it is the “sin nature” that GOD gave us when we were born”. And so, again, we see it as GOD’s fault that we sin, not ours, which is still just as ridiculous as it was when Adam and Eve originally voiced their lame excuses.
    We sin because we want to, not because “we can’t help it”, and a 100% human JESUS, proved that with HIS OWN mortal life. For a wide variety of inexcusable reasons (bad teaching, laziness, the desire to do only what we want to do, etc.) most people don’t have an accurate knowledge of, or desire to obey the Holy Scriptures, and this is in spite of it being available to us today, in almost every language there is.
    Human beings are not born with “sin nature”, but rather, we are born with “GOD’s nature”. We acquire “sin nature” from satan the moment we first disobey GOD at an age of accountability, just like Adam and Eve did. GOD would not be a “just GOD” if HE started us out with the disadvantage, or “deficit”, of already having sin in us.
    Instead, what Scripture teaches us is that we are born into a “state of sin”, or, “a world of sin”, a world where sin already exists. The sin is not originally in us, but rather, we are “born into it” by way of our parents, who sinned before us, starting with Adam and Eve, who were the first to choose to do the wrong thing.
    Psalm 51:5 is one of the most misinterpreted verses in Scripture, and its misinterpretation is what gives rise to the demonic thought of “being born with sin in us”. There the Hebrew word used for “born”, “chuwl” (khool) means “shaped” or “born into a state of”, in this case “iniquity”, or, “brought forward” into “a state of being”, or an environment that already exists, and therefore am destined to become a product of that environment. Therefore, correctly interpreted, it means that we are born into a world where sin already exists, and not that we were born with sin nature already in us. We accept satan’s sin nature the first time that we disobey GOD at an age of accountability, just as our predecessors, Adam and Eve did.  
    GOD wouldn’t be angry at us for sinning, if HE in fact, “made us” to sin from the beginning, starting us out in a state of helplessness, for that is a ridiculous thought. GOD made everything “good”, from the beginning just as HIS Word says, and HE still does, especially with “the human side” of HIS creation. The originals (Adam and Eve), and the reproductions (us), were, and are, made perfectly well and good in the beginning (Genesis 1:31), particularly in the spiritual sense (being made in GOD’s spiritual image).
    Sin brought “physical death” into the world, however, we don’t have to fear because JESUS has covered it, and will eventually replace it all together with “spiritual life”, the end result of HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha. Satan crippled mankind with temptation and deception, but JESUS “crushed satan’s head” with HIS “righteousness”, and has now “reclaimed” man from under the dominion of sin and death (v.15).
    The only way that we can keep our “restored relationship” with GOD, and with each other pure, is by accepting responsibility for our sins and bad choices, earnestly repenting, and then, by relying on the “forgiving love” and “life-giving blood” of CHRIST JESUS to heal the damaging effects that our sin can have on our lives, and, on the lives of others.
    GOD banished man from the “ideal setting” of the Garden of Eden for his own good (Vs.22-24). However, HE did not banish man from HIS heart, and, from the ideal setting of the coming “Millennial Kingdom” here on earth, nor from “the Kingdom of Heaven” later on, for the same reason. And so, biological death can now be viewed as a “grace gift” from the Almighty GOD (for we can’t enter Heaven unless, we first, die to this world). And when we choose the right path, we will be kept from the “punishing consequences” that lie on the road to destruction, and, in the end, we will come to know the absolute full extent of GOD’s redeeming love for mankind, HIS greatest creation, when HE welcomes us into the paradise that is, the Kingdom of Heaven.  

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, September 21, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 23, 2018

Over 174,000 readers worldwide

(Woman was created from man, for man)
(Genesis 2:18-24 and 4:1-2)

   When GOD uniquely breathed HIS spirit and life into man, HE also imparted to us, the elements of HIS nature, which allows us to have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with HIM, and to worship HIM as GOD.  These are the seven basic elements, or attributes of GOD’s nature that all human beings are born with;

·          Life – Genesis 2:7a, John 1:4 & 14:6
·           Personality – Genesis 2:7b
·          Truth – John 14:6, Hosea 14:9b
·          Wisdom – Proverbs 7
·          Love – 1 John 4:8 & 16
·          Justice – Jeremiah 50:7b, Psalm 89:14a, Deuteronomy 16:18-20  
·          Holiness – Leviticus 11:44 & 19:2

    With that being said, now let us look at the creation of man in even more detail. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 1, the bible tells us that “the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was complete”. This means that GOD had “totally finished” HIS work of creation, and left nothing undone that HE would have to come back later on and finish, or change. And neither does HE need man to come along and try to change anything for HIM, or, desire to change the things of GOD to suit our own selfish, evil, pride-filled purposes.
    And so, we are to function as GOD originally purposed us to do in this world that HE created, and if we are to stay within HIS Will, we must stay within the creation roles that HE has blessed us with, be it our “general” creation role as “male” and “female”, our “specific” creation role that HE assigns us to when working as a team or group, or, our “personal” creation role in life that only we, as an individual, are called to do.
    Man is incapable of improving upon GOD’s work, period. He cannot improve upon GOD in any way, not in nature, not in animals, not in insects, not in birds, not in human beings, human functions, nor in our creation roles, and certainly not in the way that the institution of marriage was originally set up. As mere humans, we don’t get to change the definitions that GOD has already placed on morality, marriage, creation roles, etc.
    Here in Genesis chapter 2, verses 8-17, Moses tells how GOD carefully shaped the “Garden of Eden” so that Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve, nor Eva and Eve), whom HE created, would be able to use all of those “communicable attributes”, to make wise decisions based on obedience to HIM. They were not to use human ingenuity, sexual perversion, or any of the other things that evil minds concoct to do, through pride, self-worship, and worship of other people, places, and things (self-made idols).
    GOD left it to them to take care of their place of residence that HE had so generously provided for them here on earth, and, HE also left them with specific instructions as to how they should live under HIM. Those attributes that HE embodied in them were to also come in handy as they explored and discovered their love and respect for each other, their delight in meaningful work, their moral responsibility, and even their passion for invention.
    When GOD fashioned beautiful Eve from the rib of Adam (the world’s first surgery–v.21), it let man know that “he and woman” would always share a common identity in GOD, and “a distinct identity from each other” (separate and distinct creation roles). They would always be equals, who are interdependent upon each other, sharing in GOD’s likeness, or, spiritual image, and, as husband and wife, they should always be distinct, and yet inseparable. They would always share an equal responsibility in caring for each other, and, for all of GOD’s other creation.
    And so we see in verse 7 that GOD made man distinctly for HIMSELF, shaping him from the dust of the earth, and breathing life into him, along with all the other characteristics of HIS nature, giving him a personality (making him a living person) that was compatible with HIS OWN, so that he would obey, serve and worship HIM, at all times, in the capacity in which HE wants him to serve. And then later (Vs.20b-22), HE made woman, from man, for man, to be a companion who will help him at all times, in the capacity in which GOD wants her to serve him (v.18). They were also to come together in marriage, to “reproduce life” through sexual intercourse (Genesis 1:28a), and the man (Adam) and the woman (Eve) knew no sin at that time. This would be the only time period on earth, be it very short, when a full-grown man or woman lived perfectly under GOD, until JESUS came.
    When Adam and Eve experienced each other sexually, she conceived and bore a son whom Adam named “Cain”. Then she gave birth to another son, and Adam named him “Abel”. And since the bible doesn’t say that she conceived again before Abel was born, it is possible, and even likely that Cain and Abel were twins. And so we see here that, for the first time here on earth, a human family was generated. When the boys grew up, Cain became a farmer, and Abel became a shepherd (Genesis 4:1-2).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, September 14, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 16, 2018

Over 173,000 readers worldwide

(We are created in GOD’s OWN spiritual image)
(Genesis 1:26-2:7)

    On the sixth day of creation, after GOD had “spoken into existence” all of the universe and the earth, and fashioned from the soil, all types of animal life, bird life, and marine life, which were to dwell upon the dry land of the earth, in the air, and in the sea, in dramatic fashion, HE suddenly changed HIS “creation method” when HE created man.
    Here in this passage, instead of speaking man into existence, like HE had done with all the other animal, bird, and marine life which HE created, GOD decided to form physical man from the dust of the earth, and then, place within him “a human spirit”. GOD decided to “pattern” (v.27) (“dmuwth”-which is pronounced “dem-ooth” and means “mannerism”) that human spirit to reflect HIS OWN spiritual image, or “nature” here on earth.
    Our spiritual make-up consists, first of all, of a “heart” (“kardia”), not the physical organ in our chest, but rather, “the center of our thoughts” where GOD must be kept). Then there is the “soul” (the human spirit), which embodies GOD’s “nature”, a set of “communicable attributes”, which include Life, Personality, Love, Truth, Justice, Wisdom, and Holiness. And finally there is the “mind”, where we are free to make choices and decisions in life regarding all things. In other words, GOD did not make us into robots, but rather, HE gives us “wills that are free”
    And so, the word “image” (v.26 and v.27), “tselem” in the Hebrew, is in reality, a “spiritual image”, not a physical one. We don’t look like GOD, but rather, “we are what GOD wants us to look like” physically. GOD placed within our “human spirit”, or “soul”, a set of “communicable attributes”, or qualities, that would make man compatible with HIM, and desire to obey, worship, and have an experiential, personal relationship with HIM.
    And so GOD breathed into man, the breath of life, and from that day forward, man became a living person and began to embody the elements, or attributes of “GOD’s OWN Nature”. Mankind became “personally” related to GOD through HIS nature which includes those attributes I just mentioned. Man became a living “person”, having a “personality” just as GOD does. Without these qualities we would be just another animal, like wildlife, livestock, and all the other domesticated animal life forms.
    When GOD said “let us make man in our own image”, HE, being an invisible Spiritual GOD, was not talking about a “physical image”. “We do not look like GOD”, because “GOD doesn’t have a physical image”. JESUS tells us in John 4:24 that “GOD is SPIRIT” and so, the only way that we can resemble GOD is to act like HIM by incorporating HIS spiritual attributes into our everyday behavior and existence. We must resemble HIM spiritually, through our behavior.
    We are required by GOD to use those communicable attributes of HIS to reflect HIS “image” to others through our behavior, the same way the coming CHRIST would do during HIS first advent. These attributes also equip us with the capacity to care for ourselves and GOD’s other creation, similarly to the way that GOD cares for us.
    After perfecting man for HIS service, GOD then blessed us and instructed us to multiply ourselves and “replenish” (“male” – pronounced “maw-lay” in the Hebrew, and it means “to fill again”, or “refill”) the earth (v.28). That command from GOD suggests that there was something here before mankind, and the earth we now know. In fact, it is true that many archeological finds have been discovered to show that human, animal, and plant life, and even the universe can go back millions of years.
    The phrase “in the beginning” suggests just that, “that GOD was already here in the beginning”, or, in fact, before the beginning was, there had to be GOD. HE’s the ONE WHO got the ball rolling, and so, HE had to be already here before the beginning. This is too great for us to understand because we can only think in “linear time”, however, by telling Adam and Eve to “replenish the earth”, that tells us that GOD probably already had put something here before HE decided to start all over again with the creation of earth and mankind as we see it today. It suggests that everything began with GOD, and not that, everything began with us.
    In addition to providing us with the wonderful reproduction system that HE fully intended for us to take advantage of, GOD also commanded us to subdue all of HIS creation, and to maintain full responsibility and dominion over it (Vs.26-28). GOD then set up all of HIS human and animal creation with an almost unlimited vegetarian diet (Vs.29-30), with one distinction or restriction of course, and that is that we not eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, which was planted in the center of “The Garden of Eden” along with “the tree of life”.
    GOD evaluated each of the first five days of HIS creative work that HE had spoken into existence, and at the end of each day HE called HIS work “good”. However, near the end of the sixth day, HE physically created and formed man from the dust of the earth, and when HE had finished making man, HE called HIS work, “very good”.
    GOD, our CREATOR, seems to have invested much more time into the creation of man than HE did in all of HIS other creations, and as a result, HE expects much more from us than the rest. The intricate details that GOD embodies into every living thing clearly suggests that HE deliberately and strategically placed each and everything here on earth, and, in the heavens above, with great vision, and, with great purpose. And man, and everything else, was made specifically to serve GOD in a predetermined special way, according to “a superiorly wise plan” that we need not fully understand or comprehend, but rather, must go forward with it, by faith.  
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander