Saturday, December 3, 2016
Divine Symmetries and Patterns of Christmas in Genesis
Galatians 4:4 "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law".
In Genesis 3 we witness the treachery of Adam and Eve falling for the Serpent's lies and breaking covenant relationship with God. Adam and Eve's actions brought forth sin and misery upon the whole human race. Thankfully God's plan for Christmas would go beyond Adam (please compare Romans 5:11-21). Today's post wants to consider the symmetries and patterns of Christmas in Genesis, whereby we see God using history, numbers and seven particular men to lay the groundwork for His historic plan of redemption leading up to the arrival of Jesus.
The Bible's uses of symmetry - God's fingerprint for preparing for Christmas
From Adam we go forward to Genesis 5. In Genesis 5 we find 10 generations listed - depicting for us the human bloodline that God would use to bring about the "seed" promise first spoken of to Eve in Genesis 3:15. The tenth man in that listing is a every familiar one - Noah. Each man and generation of God's people would function as torch lights lighting the way toward redemption. In Jesus' genealogy of Luke 3:36b-38, as Luke unfolds for us the events leading up to and following Jesus birth, we see 10 generations stretching from Noah back to Adam- truly a remarkable example of God's preparation for that first Christmas.
From Noah we see God issuing forth earth's second catastrophe, the flood. Following the flood the Bible introduces us to the third major man involved in the continuation of God's plan for Christmas - Shem. Shem was one of Noah's three Sons, and his entire bloodline is detailed in Genesis 10-11. During his days the third great catastrophe, the tower of Babel, would occur. Shem's bloodline also mentions ten generations. In the tenth man of his bloodline we are introduced to another familiar figure - Abram (whose name would be changed by God to Abraham). If we turn back to Luke's genealogy of Jesus bloodline once again, we see in Luke 3:34b-36a another 10 generations stretching from Abraham back to Shem.
Thus in all from Adam to Abraham would represent a span of over 2000 years period of time. Likewise from Abraham to Christ's birth on that first Christmas would be more than 2000 years of time. Of these first 20 generations listed in both Genesis and Luke, we see our first four major patriarchs: Adam, Noah, Shem and Abraham. As the symmetry of scripture unfolds, these numbers are no accident nor coincidence. God's hand was working in history to bring about His purpose of accomplishing the entry of His son into humanity on that first Christmas.
How God specified his intentions for bringing about that first Christmas
So with these four men: Adam, Noah, Shem and Abram - we see God specifying more clearly who and what He is going to us in bringing about the redeemer who would be born on Christmas. From Abraham would come the promised son - Isaac. From Isaac and his wife Rebekka would come forth Jacob - the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Six men are reckoned so far in God's plot-line for setting up His plan of salvation in history. Symmetry and numbering are signs of Divine Majesty at work in the otherwise catastrophic mess of humanity. The seventh main figure we will note in Genesis is born in Genesis 30 and ends up being revealed most fully in Genesis 37-50 - Joseph. Seven is God's number of fullness. It means that all that God has planned is coming to fruition. Joseph, more than the other six prior men - most fully pictures for us the focus of the Christmas story - the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today's post explored the symmetry of generations God used in Genesis to make known His plan of redemption. We considered seven particular figures that emerge in the historical unfolding of the Book of Genesis: Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Each man would in some way pre-figure, illustrate or be a recipient of God's promises that would be responsible for paving the way for the arrival of Jesus into our world.