The Study of Scripture
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Beginning and Continuing
Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven has to do with the future restoration of “the whole house of Israel” (v. 11) following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation. “The whole house of Israel” will be comprised of both the Jews who died in the faith during Old Testament days (the dead [resurrected] return with the living [Exodus 13:19]) and Jews living at the time Christ returns (saved through His personal appearance, at which time, through the use of the Old Testament Scriptures, He will reveal Himself to the nation [cf. Luke 24:16, 25-31]).
Apart from viewing the bones as very dry and lifeless, events in Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven have nothing to do with events in the Middle East prior to the time of Christ’s return, for Israel must remain “dead” during the entire two days (2,000 years) preceding that time and be raised only on the third day (the third 1,000-year period). That is to say, “breath” — the requirement for life, which comes only from God — cannot be imparted to the nation until the third day (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2; Luke 24:21; John 11:6, 7, 25, 39-44).
The preceding has to do with the primary interpretation of Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven. But all Scripture, along with a primary interpretation, will invariably have secondary applications. And it is within the realm of secondary applications that this chapter will concern itself.
This chapter will center on basics surrounding the proper way and place to begin and continue a study of the Word of God. And, insofar as its connection with Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven is concerned, it will have to do with bones (forming a skeletal framework), that which covers the bones (sinews [nerves, tendons], flesh, and skin), and breath (that which gives life).
Through a secondary application, Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven will be used to illustrate the proper way to begin and continue a study of the Word of God.
The structure of the Word — i.e., the entire layout of the Word, from beginning to end — can be likened unto the human anatomy after the preceding fashion. And this is not pressing an issue. God uses the human anatomy numerous places in Scripture to set forth spiritual truths.
Beginning in Genesis chapter two, Adam was put to sleep, and God removed that portion of Adam’s body that He used to bring Eve into existence. This foreshadowed Christ’s death and the subsequent removal of the element from Christ’s body, blood and water, which God would use to bring Christ’s bride into existence (cf. Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 1:18). Or in the text from Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven, the human anatomy is used to describe how God will one day bring about the restoration of “the whole house of Israel.”
And in the New Testament, the relationship of Christ to the Church is depicted as the relationship of the Head to the body, with individual Christians likened to different parts of the body, possessing different functions (1 Corinthians 12:12ff; Ephesians 5:22-30). Then, in a matter closely aligned with the present study, growth in the spiritual realm is likened to growth in the physical realm (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:1, 2).
But the preceding, in a sense, is really neither here nor there, for there is a textual connection in Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven within this same realm relative to the Word of God. And this connection comes through the use of “breath” to bring about life, which takes one back to Genesis 2:7 (the first mention of “breath” in connection with life) and forward to 2 Timothy 3:16 (where Scripture is said to be “God-breathed” [which is what Theopneustos in this verse in the Greek text literally means; refer to the NIV, where the word is literally translated]).
And to further strengthen the whole thought, note that God always lays foundations prior to building (cf. Matthew 7:24-27; Hebrews 6:1-6). He builds only after the foundations have been laid, and He always builds on the foundations.
Then, transfer that same thought over into Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven. Using this chapter to illustrate the point, note that God doesn’t begin with the sinews, flesh, and skin. Rather, He begins with the bones. The sinews, flesh, and skin are placed on the bones after the same fashion that a structure is built on its foundation. And, in that respect, the bones — forming the skeletal framework — would be seen as the foundation.
So, the question: Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?
The question, in connection with the background material, is really self-answering. Where and how did God begin when He revealed His Word to man?
God began, at the outset of His Word, by setting forth a skeletal framework of the whole panorama of that which He was about to reveal; and His subsequent revelation would be the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the bones forming the skeletal framework. Or, to state the matter another way, God began, at the outset of His Word, by laying a foundational structure, upon which the whole framework of His revelation to man would subsequently be built.
Now, back to the question, Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?
There’s only one place and one way to begin.
A person must begin at the beginning. A person must begin where the foundation has been laid. A person must begin where the skeletal framework has been given.
In short, a person must begin where God began. If one begins elsewhere, he will have nothing upon which to build the structure; he will have nothing upon which to attach the sinews, flesh, and skin.
And herein lies the very reason for the vast confusion that presently exists in theological circles today. Christians have failed to begin with the foundational structure. They do not know and understand the structure of the Word, set forth at the beginning. And, as a consequence, they have no bones upon which to place the sinews, flesh, and skin; they have no foundation upon which to build.
IT SIMPLY CAN’T BE DONE THAT WAY!
A person doesn’t begin with the gospels (except perhaps John, which parallels Genesis [refer to the foreword in this book]) or the Pauline or general epistles. These are not beginning points. Rather, these parts of Scripture have to do with the structure being built upon the foundation. These parts of Scripture have to do with the sinews, flesh, and skin being placed on the bones.
The beginning point was given through Moses. The foundational outline, the skeletal framework, was set forth at the very beginning, in the opening section of Genesis. And it is here that one must begin if he is to begin correctly. He must understand the foundational beginning of the matter first if he is to properly understand that which is subsequently built upon the foundation.
(To further complicate matters in Christendom as it exists in the world today, many Bible teachers [probably most], when dealing with chapter one of Genesis, teach that this chapter has to do with creation alone. Such a teaching destroys the septenary structure and foundational aspects of Scripture at the outset.
Suffice it to say, understanding Genesis 1:1-2:3 any way other than Creation, Ruin, Restoration, and Rest — showing a septenary structure and providing a foundation for all that follows — is not possible if Scripture is allowed to interpret itself by comparing Scripture with Scripture [refer to Chapter 2 in this book].)
1) Genesis 1:1-2:3
Genesis is the book of beginnings, and the opening verses (1:1-2:3) contain the skeletal outline for the whole of Scripture that follows. These verses cover the whole panorama of Scripture, from beginning to end; and if one understands the foundational outline first, he will then be in a position to place all that follows within a proper perspective in relation to the foundational structure.
That would be to say, if one views the bones that form the skeletal framework after the correct fashion first, then he will be in a position to clothe this framework with all the sinews, flesh, and skin that follow, placing them in their proper positions upon the bones.
However, if one doesn’t see and understand the skeletal framework first, then he will be in no position to properly handle that which follows. He will not have utilized the God-provided beginning point of reference, which can only negatively affect his knowledge and understanding of how all subsequent Scripture fits together. He will likely see numerous disconnected verses or disconnected sections of Scripture, for he will not have begun with and understood that which would have allowed him to properly relate these verses or sections to the whole of Scripture.
Thus, two things could be said about the beginning point in Scripture:
1) A person must begin where God began.
2) And a person must, aside from beginning where God began, understand correctly that which God has revealed in these opening verses.
From a biblical standpoint, NOTHING is more important than these two prerequisites in biblical study.
Genesis 1:1-2:3 begins with a simple statement concerning God’s creation of the heavens and the earth (1:1). Then disorder is seen entering where only perfect order had previously existed (1:2a). The reason for this disorder is revealed elsewhere in Scripture. Satan, God’s appointed ruler over the earth, sought to elevate his throne and be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-17). And, as a result, his kingdom — the province over which he ruled, i.e., the earth (Ezekiel 28:14-16) — was reduced to a ruined state.
In the words of Scripture,
The earth was [lit., ‘But the earth became’] without form, and void; and darkness was [‘became’] on the face of the deep . . . . (Genesis 1:2a)
All of this occurred over 6,000 years ago, during a dateless past. That’s really all man can know about “time” concerning that which is revealed in Genesis 1:1, 2a. The things revealed in these verses could have occurred over aeons of time or they could have occurred over a relatively short period within one aeon. We’re simply not told.
The latter part of verse two is where God begins to count time insofar as the revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes are concerned. The movement of the Spirit of God upon the face of the waters, covering the ruined creation below, marks the beginning point of a six-day period that God used to restore the ruined material creation (1:2b-25). Then, at the end of His restorative work on the sixth day, God created man (1:26ff). And on the seventh day God rested from all His work (2:1-3).
The preceding is the skeletal framework upon which all subsequent Scripture rests. The six and seven days foreshadow six and seven thousand years of time (2 Peter 3:3-8; cf. Matthew 17:1ff; 2 Peter 1:15-18); and, with very few exceptions, the whole of Scripture concerns itself with events during these 7,000 years. Scripture reveals events preceding the 7,000 years (e.g., Genesis 1:1, 2a; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11ff) or events following the 7,000 years (e.g., 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1ff) only to an extent that would allow man to properly understand and place events in their proper perspective within the framework of the revealed 7,000 years.
As God worked six days to restore the ruined material creation in Genesis 1:2b-25, He is presently working six days — 6,000 years — to restore two presently ruined creations (ruined man, and the material creation under a curse). At the end of His restorative work in Genesis, God rested on the seventh day. And He is going to do exactly the same thing at the end of His restorative work in the present restoration. At the end of six days — at the end of 6,000 years — He is going to rest for one day once again. That is, He is going to rest for 1,000 years, the earth’s coming Messianic Era.
Then events outlining God’s activity within the six and seven days in Genesis 1:2b-2:3 are fraught with symbolism and meaning. The skeletal framework is complete within these verses (including Genesis 1:1, 2a, for the “Restoration” and “Time” of the restoration, followed by “Rest” [1:2b ff], could not be understood apart from the prior revealed “Creation” and “Ruin” of the creation). Nothing superfluous has been given in these verses. All is by divine design.
Thus, Genesis 1:1-2:3 provides the skeletal foundation upon which all subsequent Scripture rests, given at the very outset of God’s revelation to man. And a person reading this revelation must either attach the sinews, flesh, and skin (all subsequent revelation) to these bones (Genesis 1:1-2:3) or lack for a foundation upon which to build, for God has provided no other.
(Again, for a more detailed exposition of Genesis 1:1-2:3 — allowing one to see how the remainder of Scripture must relate to this opening section of Genesis — refer back to Chapter 2 of this book.)
2) From Moses to John
Scripture can be properly divided into seven parts, each forming a complete section of Scripture:
1) Genesis 1:1, 2a
2) Genesis 1:2b-2:3
3) Genesis 2:4-11:25
4) Remainder of the Old Testament and the gospel accounts
5) Acts through Revelation chapter nineteen
6) Revelation 20:1-10
7) Revelation 20:11-22:21
The first and second divisions, as has been demonstrated, cover the skeletal framework upon which the remainder rests.
The third division covers the first 2,000 years of human history extending from Adam to Abraham.
The fourth division begins with Abraham and covers the next 2,000 years of human history, wherein God called one man out from Ur of the Chaldees to be the channel through which He, from that point forward, would deal with mankind at large.
This fourth division actually ends with the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, at the conclusion of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) — a prophecy forming the concluding 490 years of this 2,000-year period. But God stopped the clock marking time in this prophecy seven years short of completion, which coincided with Christ’s death — with Messiah being “cut off” in Daniel’s prophecy (v. 26) — and began an entirely new 2,000-year dispensation.
The fifth division begins with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., in Acts chapter two, and covers the next 2,000 years, the dispensation that began following the fulfillment of sixty-nine weeks (483 years) in Daniel’s prophecy. Israel was set aside, the Church was called into existence, and during this time the Spirit of God is taking 2,000 years to call out a bride for God’s Son (in the antitype of that seen in Genesis chapter twenty-four).
Following the Spirit procuring a bride for God’s Son, the Church will be removed, God will resume His national dealings with Israel, and the last seven years of the previous dispensation will be brought to pass. This period is referred to in Scripture as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and this final seven years of the past dispensation will complete man’s 6000-year day, allowing the Messianic Era to be ushered in, exactly as seen in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy.
(For additional information on these final seven years, refer to the author’s books, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble and The Time of the End.)
The sixth division begins with Messiah’s return following the completion of the full 490 years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy and covers the next 1,000 years of human history. This will be the long awaited Messianic Era (Revelation 20:1-6), to be immediately followed by certain revealed events (Revelation 20:7-10).
Then the seventh division has to do with the eternal ages that will follow not only the Messianic Era but the revealed events occurring at the end of this era (Revelation 20:11-22:21).
Now, to illustrate how later revelation is inseparably connected with earlier revelation and how any revelation subsequent to Genesis 1:1-2:3 must be inseparably connected with these opening verses of Genesis, note the thousand years mentioned six times in Revelation 20:1-7. This is not the first time that the thousand years are mentioned in Scripture. Quite the contrary. Instead, it is the last time.
The first mention of the thousand years in Scripture is within the skeletal framework set forth at the beginning, in Genesis 2:1-3. This 1,000-year period comprises the seventh millennium, foreshadowed by the seventh day in the opening verses of Genesis.
Not only that, but the thousand years in Revelation 20:1-7 are mentioned numerous places throughout Scripture, covering the 6,000 years of time preceding the Messianic Era (ref. Chapter 2 in this book). These thousand years are the point in time toward which everything moves, with their repeated mention being a very natural and necessary part of Scripture.
The Sabbath given to Israel was a “sign” concerning this coming millennial day (Exodus 31:13-17). Every time Israel kept the Sabbath, at the end of six days of work, they were acknowledging that which God had set forth in the foundational framework at the very beginning (vv. 15-17). They were acknowledging that God was going to work six days in the latter restoration and then rest on the seventh day (exactly as He did in the former).
(The pattern was set perfect in the beginning. And the latter restoration and rest must follow the former restoration and rest in exact detail, in every respect.
The thousand years in Revelation 20:1-7 [which follow 6,000 years of work] carry exactly the same relationship to Genesis 2:1-3 as the Sabbath given to Israel [which followed six days of work] carried to these verses. “There remains therefore a rest for [lit., ‘a Sabbath rest for’] the people of God” [Hebrews 4:9; cf. v. 4].)
Reference is made to part or all of the six and seven days different places in Scripture, referring to 6,000 and 7,000 years, drawing from Genesis 1:2b-2:3 (cf. Numbers 19:11-19; 2 Samuel 1:1, 2; Hosea 5:15-6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 16:28-17:5; John 1:29, 35, 43, 2:1; 11:6, 7).
Then, beyond that, events surrounding the coming Messianic Era — events occurring during the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period — are mentioned time after time after time throughout Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 2:1-5; 4:1-6; 14:1-8; Jeremiah 30:1-9; 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 37:1ff; Matthew 24:30, 31; Acts 15:14-18; Romans 11:25, 26).
It will be in that day that the blessings of Genesis 12:2, 3 will be realized in their fullness by both Israel and the nations; it will be in that day that Christ will exercise the Melchizedek priesthood, blessing the descendants of Abraham, both heavenly and earthly (Genesis 14:18, 19); it will be in that day that God will restore Israel to her rightful place (Genesis 25:1ff); it will be in that day that Christ and His co-heirs will rule the earth from a heavenly realm in the stead of Satan and his angels (cf. Revelation 2:26, 27; 4:10, 11; 5:8-10; 11:15); and it will be in that day that the seed of Abraham, both heavenly and earthly, will “possess the gate of [i.e., exercise regal power over]” the enemy (Genesis 22:17, 18).
And on and on one could go with that which God has revealed in His Word about that coming seventh day.
It is all as Nathaniel West said over one hundred years ago in his book, The Thousand Years in Both Testaments:
“What we find in the New Testament as its outcome in respect to the ages and the kingdom, has already lain in the bosom of the Old Testament from the beginning . . . .
Nothing appears in the later revelation that was not hid in the earlier, nothing in John that was not in Moses . . . . If we study the eschatology of the Old Testament, we will find the Eschata there identical with the Eschata of the New Testament, and the Eschatology of both Testaments the same . . . if ‘the thousand years’ are not in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets, they have no right to be in John.”
Accordingly, any study of the thousand years cannot possibly begin with that which God has revealed in Revelation 20:1-7. Rather, a study of this nature must, of necessity, begin with that which God has revealed in Genesis 2:1-3. Revelation 20:1-7 forms the capstone to the matter. This section of Scripture covers in very brief form that which the prophets have previously covered in great detail.
And only the simple statement need be made at this concluding point, for all the details have already been given. The whole matter is really that simple if one remains within the scope of the manner in which God has structured His revelation to man, as revealed at the beginning.
Sinews, Flesh, Skin
Once God had set forth the skeletal structure of Scripture at the beginning, He then began to place upon the structure that which could only be considered as foundational sinews, flesh, and skin.
And, in this respect, the importance of seeing and understanding the proper relationship of the section that immediately follows to, the preceding skeletal structure cannot be overemphasized.
God began to build upon the structure, and that which He set forth at the beginning forms unchangeable patterns, molds, etc. And all subsequent Scripture must not only attach itself in a natural manner after some fashion to the skeletal structure but it must also be in perfect accord with all subsequent foundational material.
Some have sought to see within the first eleven chapters of Genesis all the major biblical doctrines throughout Scripture set forth in foundational form; and that may very well be true, though the issue will not be pressed.
Rather, that which will be pressed is the importance of that which is set forth at the beginning. Not only is unchangeable, foundational material given — material that one must understand to properly understand subsequent Scripture — but that which is uppermost in God’s thoughts can be seen in these verses.
That is, if man wants to see that which God considers to be of primary importance, he will find it at the outset of God’s revelation to man. And the importance of this fact is very simple:
That which is uppermost in God’s mind at the beginning remains uppermost in His mind throughout the remainder of Scripture.
The preceding is not to say that God’s revelation to man in Genesis 2:4-11:25, covering the first 2,000 years of human history, is more important than His revelation following this point, covering subsequent history. One part of Scripture cannot be placed above another part in this respect. The foundation is important, and the structure is important.
A foundation by itself would be incomplete and of little value; and a structure must be built upon a foundation, else it would be unstable or it would collapse. The foundation and structure together form a stable, complete building.
That which is being stated and emphasized has to do with the importance of understanding both the foundational structure and the foundational material built on the structure, for, apart from this, a stable building cannot be erected. That is, for a stable, well-built structure one must have a building that has been erected on a solid foundation, after a careful fashion.
1) Genesis 2:4-11:25
God began His revelation to man in the third section of Scripture (2:4ff) by showing how He had brought certain things to pass from the first two sections (1:1, 2a and 1:2b-2:3). Everything in Genesis 2:4-25 forms commentary material on that which had preceded.
Verse four is an overview of chapter one, verses five and six cover events occurring on the second day, verse seven covers events occurring on the sixth day, verses eight through fourteen cover events occurring on the third day, and verses fifteen through twenty-five cover events occurring on the sixth day (with v. 19 relating to events on both the fifth and sixth days).
And, if a person wants to see where God places an emphasis very early in His revelation, that person might note the space given to the formation of Eve and her relationship to Adam (vv. 18, 20-25). Details surrounding a portion of that which was revealed in Genesis 1:26-28 are given in this section, and an unchangeable pattern is established.
The bride of the first man, the first Adam, was removed from his body. She was formed from a part of his body, not from all of his body. And, once she had been formed, she was presented back to Adam to not only complete Adam but to reign as consort queen with him (cf. 1:26-28; 2:18-22).
Thus will it be with the second Man, the last Adam, and His bride. The bride will be removed from His body (the Church). She will be formed from a part of His body, not from all of His body. And, once the bride has been formed, she will be presented back to the second Man, the last Adam, Christ, to not only complete Christ but to reign as consort queen with Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 2:26, 27; 3:21; 19:7, 8).
Now, note what was done throughout Genesis 2:4-25. Throughout this section God concerned Himself with placing foundational sinews, flesh, and skin on the skeletal structure previously revealed. And the foundational material set forth here can no more subsequently be changed than can the beginning skeletal structure itself. All later revelation must be in perfect accord with all earlier revelation, and vice versa.
Then, chapter three reveals unchangeable foundational truths surrounding man’s fall and subsequent redemption. The actions of the first Adam establish a pattern, a mold, for the actions of the last Adam; and God’s actions surrounding redemption in this chapter form a pattern, a mold, for His actions surrounding man’s redemption at any future point in time.
Adam found his bride, a part of his very being, in a fallen state; and Adam was left without a choice as to his course of action. He could not now eat of the tree of life as God had previously commanded, for a part of his very being was in a fallen state (though the fall itself didn’t actually occur until Adam, as the federal head, had eaten of the forbidden fruit [evident from the sequence of events in Genesis 3:6, 7]).
Following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam could only cleave to his wife, as God had also previously commanded, placing himself in a fallen state as a complete being; and this would be with a view to redemption, wherein the man, as a complete being, might one day eat of the tree of life. That would be to say that Adam partook of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, with a view to both one day being able to partake of the tree of life together and, together, fulfilling the purpose for their creation in the beginning (2:9, 16, 24).
And the antitype, following the established type, is quite easy to see. The last Adam found His bride in a fallen state and was made sin to effect her redemption, with a view to exactly the same thing set forth in the type — both one day partaking of the tree of life together and, together, fulfilling the purpose for man’s creation in the beginning (2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 2:7).
(Partaking of the tree of life has to do with the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge to rule and reign [see the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ, Chapter 5]. Christ Himself, being very God of very God, possesses such knowledge apart from partaking of the tree. But His bride in that day won’t. However, as Christ partook of food following His resurrection, He will just as easily be able to partake of the tree of life with His bride should He so choose.)
Then basic unchangeable truths surrounding God’s redemption of man have been established in Genesis chapter three. God, rejecting man’s efforts to do anything about his fallen state (i.e., man’s efforts to replace the lost covering of Glory with a covering of fig leaves), slew animals and clothed Adam and Eve (3:7, 21). This forever sets forth salvation, restoration, entirely by/through divine intervention, in perfect keeping with how God restored the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2bff — i.e., entirely by/through divine intervention.
Then, in Genesis chapter three, death and shed blood relative to man’s salvation, restoration, are introduced. And, with the introduction of shed blood, more foundational material is placed on the skeletal structure. And beyond this one finds more and more and more . . . . But all subsequent references to salvation, adding details to the structure, must be in perfect accord with previous revelation, always going back to and beginning with Genesis 1:2bff.
Beyond chapter three, very briefly, chapter four deals with Cain and Abel, setting forth foundational truths surrounding Israel and Christ. Cain slays Abel; Israel, 4,000 years later, slays Christ. The blood of Abel cries out “from the ground,” but the blood of Christ speaks “better things” than the blood of Abel (Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).
Chapter five forms a genealogical table covering the ten generations from Adam to Noah. Then there is the Flood in chapters six through eight, with a new beginning following the Flood in chapter nine. And, in this new beginning, following the destruction of the nations of the earth, Shem, among Noah’s three sons, is the only one revealed to have a God (9:26). This then forms the foundation for God’s subsequent call of Abraham, a descendant of Shem, and the father of the only nation on earth that has a God — the nation of Israel, through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons (cf. Exodus 3:6; Psalm 33:12; 72:18; 96:5).
All of the surrounding Gentile nations are without God, without hope, and can partake of blessings associated with Shem and his God only one way, spelled out in Genesis chapter nine — by/through dwelling in the tents of Shem (Ephesians 2:11-13). The Gentile nations must go to Israel, the nation in possession of a God, the nation that brought forth the Messiah. This is fundamental and primary (cf. Genesis 12:2, 3; Jonah 2:9; John 4:22), and the matter is set forth in an unchangeable fashion in the early chapters of Genesis.
The whole of the matter set forth in Genesis chapters five through nine has to do with truths surrounding the past dispensation, the present dispensation, the end of the present dispensation, the coming Tribulation (which will comprise the last seven years of the past dispensation), the end of the age, and the Messianic Era. But viewing these things in the light of Hebrews 11:4-7, which draws from the overall type in Genesis chapters four through nine, that which is foreshadowed in the antitype, which is centrally in view, is that period extending from Christ’s crucifixion to His second coming.
Note the order in Hebrews 11:4-7: Abel (v. 4), Enoch (v. 5), and Noah (v. 7). These three and no more are listed in the ten-generation genealogy extending from Adam to Noah, and that is for a reason.
The order has to do with,
1) Salvation through shed blood (Abel).
2) The removal of a man from the earth, apart from death, preceding the Flood (Enoch).
3) A man remaining behind and being saved through the Flood (Noah).
Thus, these three things have to do with:
1) Man’s salvation (dealt with in Genesis 1, 3, 4 at the beginning).
2) The removal of the Church preceding the Tribulation (dealt with in Genesis 5 at the beginning).
3) Israel being saved through the Tribulation (dealt with in Genesis 6-8 at the beginning).
(Note that “Enoch” foreshadows the “one new man” in Christ, which would encompass all Christians; and both “Noah” and his “house” are seen, together, foreshadowing “the house of Israel.”)
And, beyond that, there is the matter of a new beginning in Genesis chapter nine, with the Shemites (saved through the Tribulation [while the Gentile nations of the earth suffer destruction]), as previously stated, being the only people having a God (cf. Isaiah 2:2, 3; 14:1; Ephesians 2:12, 13).
Then chapters ten and eleven cover the same Tribulation period once again from a different perspective. Babylon, with her first king, is introduced; and the Lord intervenes, as He will when Babylon reappears on the scene in the immediate future, with her last king.
Then, beyond God’s dealings with the first Babylon, there is a new beginning with Abraham (cf. Hebrews 11:8ff). And this is exactly what is about to happen yet future relative to Babylon on the one hand and the descendants of Abraham on the other.
So, there it is in very brief form. If you want to know what was uppermost in the mind of God at the beginning, which could only remain uppermost in His mind the remainder of the way, study Genesis 2:4-11:25. This section of Scripture has to do with Redemption, Christ, Israel, the Church, and the nations; and the whole of the matter, as seen preceding this section (Genesis 1:1-2:3), looks out toward that seventh day.
2) Genesis 11:26ff
Beginning with the call of Abraham, Scripture centers on one man and his descendants. In order to bring His plans and purposes surrounding man to pass, God set about, through Abraham, to do three things:
1) Give man the Word of God.
2) Bring forth the Messiah.
3) Bring forth a people (both heavenly and earthly) through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.
And revelation relating to events following this time (Genesis 11:26ff) is as revelation relating to events preceding this time (Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-11:25). That which God revealed following Abraham’s call only continues to add more sinews, flesh, and skin to the skeletal framework set forth at the beginning — continuing to progressively clothe the skeletal framework, little, by little, by little… (cf. Isaiah 28:10, 13).
There’s Melchizedek come forth to bless Abraham, following the battle of the kings, forming the type (Genesis 14:1ff); and, in the antitype, this sets forth events that will occur in the coming seventh day when Christ comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek to bless the descendants of Abraham (both heavenly and earthly), following the battle of the kings (following the destruction of Gentile world power).
Then there’s the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain (Genesis 18, 19), typifying, again, the coming destruction of Gentile world power. And there are numerous lessons within the overall type relative to Abraham and Lot, typifying matters surrounding spiritual and carnal Christians, both today and in that future day.
Or a person might look at the overall type encompassed in Genesis chapters twenty-one through twenty-five. Revelation in these chapters, in the antitype, covers once again events surrounding Redemption, Christ, Israel, the Church, and the nations, extending from Christ’s birth to His second coming.
(Reference the author’s book, Search for the Bride, for a detailed exposition of Genesis 21-25, particularly Chapter 24.)
And that’s the way it is. Scripture has been structured after a particular fashion, and it must be studied after the fashion in which it has been structured. A person must begin where God began and continue after the manner in which God continued — with the foundation, then building upon the foundation, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Remaining within a completely biblical framework, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO PROPERLY STUDY SCRIPTURE!
In Ezekiel 37:5ff, “breath” is connected with the whole man — the bones, sinews, flesh, and skin; and “knowledge” concerning the Lord is connected with seeing the whole man live, through the impartation of breath (v. 6). And that is as it must be, for the whole of Scripture is God-breathed (reference Chapter 1 in this book); and a proper study of the God-breathed Word — seeing the whole man live — provides the only Scriptural means to acquire that which is seen in Ezekiel 37:6 (cf. Romans 10:17):
I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:6)