April 10, 2022
In this study of the early chapters of Genesis, Rob leads a discussion of the beasts. In Genesis, humanity was called to rule over the beasts. Instead, humanity chose to decide right and wrong for themselves. As a result, instead of ruling the beasts, humanity becomes a beast (Dan 4). And instead of ruling the beasts, humanity is ruled by the beast--that is, human governments are viewed as beasts.
We have seen that Genesis 1-3 establishes that the covenant God of Israel, the God who called Abraham, the God who appeared to Moses on Sinai, the God who revealed Himself as the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) is the God who created all things (Gen 2:4).
We have also noted that God planted a garden in Eden where He would dwell within His creation. Thus, Eden was a temple. In addition, later biblical writers affirm that the garden was on a mountain (Ezek 28:14, 16; Exod 15:17; Ezek 40:2; 43:12; Rev 21:10) and it was a place full of precious stones (Gen 2:12; Ezek 28:13). In the “middle” of the Garden was the Tree of Life (2:9). Finally, from the Garden, the river of life flowed and watered the earth (2:10).
We have also seen that Adam and Eve were created to “subdue” the earth and to “rule” over the animals (Gen 1:26-28). They are called to rule well. As they subdue the earth, they are reminded that the plants are given as food to the animals as well (1:30). Thus, they are not to rule for themselves alone.
The creation narrative of Gen 2 describes Adam and Eve not simply as gardeners, but also as priests. As priests they are to “cultivate” and “keep” the Garden (2:15)—when these two words occur together they refer either to Israelites ‘serving’ God and ‘guarding’ God’s word or to priests who ‘keep’ the ‘service’ of the tabernacle (Num 3:7-8; 8:25-26; 18:5-6; 1 Chr 23:32; Ezek 44:14).
Adam and Eve are to be one, and as such, they are to Image God—who is One (John 17:21). Adam’s naming of the animals (Gen 2:19-20) was his first effort to rule. The problem is that Adam was not made to rule alone. He needed a “helper”—i.e., someone to come alongside and join him as an equal in the task of ruling and subduing.
To rule well Adam and Eve will also need the “knowledge of God and bad” (Gen 2:16-17). The question will be whether or not they trust God to give them such knowledge, or if they will decide to determine good and bad for themselves.
This means that we may understand the biblical conflict in terms of kingdoms. Is God the king, or will we attempt to rule ourselves? We know what happens. Humanity chooses to make its own rules. They determine to become god themselves. The Bible then follows the narrative of human history by turning this on its head. Instead, of humanity ruling over the beasts, the beasts rule humanity. Humanity becomes beasts.
Kingdom of God is like a tree Mark 4:30-32
Understanding the Beasts
Daniel: Goal: to encourage the Israelites that God is sovereign over the earthly kingdoms
A simple look at Daniel suggests it has 2 distinct parts
Chs 1-6 ____________________ of Daniel and his friends
- Simple stories of faith in a hostile foreign setting
- Others have visions and Daniel interprets them
Chs 7-12 ___________________ of Daniel
- Daniel has visions and are interpreted for him
- Obscure apocalyptic visions
Yet, Daniel is more complicated than this
Chs 1:1-2:3, 8:1-12:13 written in Hebrew
Chs 2:4-7:28 written in Aramaic
Daniel as a _____________________
Dream about four earthly kingdoms and God’s kingdom (ch 2)
Story of Jews being faithful in the face of death (ch 3)
Story of royal arrogance, which is humbled (ch 4)
Story of royal arrogance, which is humbled (ch 5)
Story of a Jew who is faithful in the face of death (ch 6)
Vision of four earthly kingdoms and God’s kingdom (ch 7)
Themes: God’s sovereignty: “That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes” (4:17)
- Most High is the sovereign/ruler (17, 25, 32)
- Kingship of God v Nebuchadnezzar (17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37)
- God is: “Most High God” (2); Most High (17, 24, 25, 32, 34)
- He humbles those who walk in pride (37)
Nebuchadnezzar becomes _____________________ (4:31-32)
Theme: God will defeat the seemingly unconquerable powers that oppress His people
Four great beasts arise from the sea (7:3)
Represent _________________________________ that will arise on the earth (7:17)
Beasts are _________________________________ with the saints and overpowering them (21)
Rev 13 is a composite of the 4 beasts of Dan 7
- 10 horns, 7 heads
- Like a leopard; feet like a bear, mouth like a lion (Dan 7:4-6)
- Comes up out of the sea (Dan 7:3)
- Speaks blasphemies (little horn; Dan 7:8, 11, 20)
- God is the object of the blasphemies (Dan 7:25)
Wages war against the saints (13:7; Dan 7:21)
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