The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture
There remains therefore a rest
[Sabbath rest] for the people of God (Hebrews
deals with a rest that will be realized by “the
people of God” during the seventh millennium dating from the
restoration of the earth and the creation of man in the first chapter of
Teachings surrounding this rest, textually and
contextually, viewed from the standpoint of the way matters are outlined in the
book of Hebrews, are based on three
portions of Old Testament Scripture:
- The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and
later Joshua (Hebrews 3:2-19).
- God’s work and subsequent rest during the seven days
of Genesis chapters
- The Sabbath given to Israel that the nation was to
keep week after week following six days of work (Hebrews
The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and later
Joshua, during a past dispensation form the type; and the experiences of
Christians under Christ during the present dispensation, leading into the coming
dispensation, form the antitype. Then teachings surrounding a
rest lying before both the Israelites in the type and Christians in the
antitype are drawn from the rest that God entered into following six days of
work in Genesis chapters
two. And the Sabbath was given to
Israel to keep, ever before them, the whole overall thought of that that
occurred in the opening two chapters of
Genesis (cf. Exodus 20:8-11;
Teachings drawn from the opening two chapters of
Genesis form the key to the
entire matter, and a correct understanding and interpretation of these opening
chapters is not something that should be taken lightly. Scripture is actually
built upon a structure that is laid down in these two chapters, and an
individual's understanding and interpretation of numerous things throughout the
remainder of Scripture will be governed by his or her understanding and
interpretation of this opening section of Scripture.
If one understands these opening verses correctly, he will understand how God
has structured His revelation to man, allowing him to grasp numerous things that
he could not otherwise understand. However, if one fails to understand these
opening verses correctly, the opposite will be true. He will have gone wrong at
the beginning, and he will remain wrong the remainder of the way.
The preceding, for example, is the reason many individuals fail to see the
proper relationship of the Sabbath rest in
Hebrews 4:9 to God’s rest following six days of work in
Genesis 2:2, 3 (cf. Hebrews
4:4). They attempt to relate this rest to something that Christians
enter into during the present day and time, which is a time prior to the seventh
day, a time not even in view. Or this is the reason many individuals attempt to
understand 2 Peter 3:8 in the light
of Psalm 90:4, when, contextually,
2 Peter 3:8 must be
understood in the light of the opening two chapters of
2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-7).
With these things in mind, the remainder of this chapter deals with the
structure of the Hebrew text, especially in parts of the
first chapter of
Genesis, particularly verse
two, and the testimony of the
remainder of Scripture insofar as the opening two chapters of
Genesis are concerned.
One MUST understand what is revealed at the beginning first.
This is the key. Only then can an individual be in a position to
move forward and properly understand the remainder.
It would go without saying that there has been a great deal
of controversy over the years among theologians and Christians in general
concerning exactly how the opening two chapters of
Genesis should be understood. And it
would also go without saying that, as a result, confusion has reigned supreme in
Christian circles concerning not only these chapters but the general tenor of
the remainder of Scripture as well.
There are actually two major schools of thought surrounding these two opening
chapters, though there are a number of variations within that are held by those
in each school.
Those in one school (probably the position held by the
majority today) view the six days in the first
chapter as time revealing and describing God’s creative activity from
And those in the other school view these six days as time
revealing God’s restoration of a ruined creation (creation seen in v.
1, a ruin of this creation seen in v.
2a, and God’s restoration of the
ruined creation seen in vv. 2b
Then there is a variation of the second school, which is held by quite a few
individuals and could be looked upon as forming a third school of thought.
Those holding to this view see Genesis 1:1
as an opening statement dealing with restoration, not creation. That is, they
see the verse dealing, not with God’s creation of the heavens and the earth in
an absolute sense (as most view the verse), but with the beginning of God’s
restoration (reforming, remolding, refashioning) of a previously perfect
creation that had fallen into a state of ruin (with the creation of the heavens
and the earth per se not seen in these opening verses).
Much of the controversy surrounding these different views is centered in the
linguistics of verse two.
Grammarians go back to the Hebrew text and deal with two areas: (1) the
relationship to verse one of the
three circumstantial clauses that form the second verse to that stated in the
first verse, and (2) the meaning of
the Hebrew word hayah in verse two
(translated “was”). And good Hebrew grammarians reach different conclusions in
1. The Three Circumstantial Clauses
The three circumstantial clauses in Genesis
1:2 are simply the clauses that form the verse:
“The earth was without form, and void;”
“And darkness was on the face of the deep.”
“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the
face of the waters.”
In the Hebrew text there is what is called a “waw”
beginning verse two (a conjunctive
or disjunctive particle [actually, a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the waw,
prefixed to a word], usually translated “and” in most English texts). Some
grammarians view this particle beginning verse
two in a conjunctive sense
(showing a connection between v. 1
and v. 2), and other grammarians
view it in a disjunctive sense (showing a separation between v.
1 and v.
2). Normally the context determines
how the particle is to be understood.
(The other two circumstantial clauses in verse two begin with “waw”
as well, which will be discussed later.
Hebrew text of the Old Testament uses the “waw” more frequently in a
conjunctive [“and”] rather than a disjunctive [“but”] sense. Of the
approximately 28,000 usages of this particle, some 25,000 appear to be
conjunctive and some 3,000 disjunctive.)
Those viewing the “waw” beginning
Genesis 1:2 in a conjunctive sense would see the three
circumstantial clauses as inseparably connected with verse
one, and those viewing the “waw”
in a disjunctive sense would, instead, see a separation between these two
If there is an inseparable connection of the clauses in verse
two with verse
a conjunctive sense), and verse one
describes an absolute beginning in relation to the heavens and the earth (God’s
actual creation of the heavens and the earth in the beginning), then verse
two would have to describe how
God created the earth in the beginning (i.e., “without
form, and void”).
Understanding the structure of the Hebrew text after this fashion would
necessitate viewing that which is described at the beginning of verse
two as the condition of the earth at
the time of the action described in verse one.
That is to say, God would have initially created the earth (v.
1) in the condition described in verse
two. Then the six subsequent days
would have to be looked upon as time in which God, step by step, performed and
completed His work of creation introduced in verse
The preceding view of the structure of the Hebrew text is the reason for the
position held by some that Genesis 1:1
describes the beginning of God’s restorative work rather than an absolute
beginning. Those holding this view see the three circumstantial clauses in
verse two as inseparably connected
with verse one. But they also see
that Scripture teaches a subsequent ruin of the creation following God’s
creation of the heavens and the earth in the beginning (e.g., cf.
Genesis 1:2 and Isaiah 45:18 [the
Hebrew word tohu, translated “without
form” in Genesis 1:2 is
translated “in vain” in Isaiah 45:18;
and this verse in Isaiah
specifically states that God did not create the earth tohu, i.e.,
after the fashion in which it is seen in
Thus, those who see God’s perfect creation undergoing a subsequent ruin but also
view the three circumstantial clauses in verse
two as inseparably connected with
verse one are forced into a
particular position concerning the interpretation of the opening verses of
Genesis. They are forced into the
position of seeing the actual creation of the heavens and the earth, and also
the ruin of the heavens and the earth, as occurring at a time prior to
Genesis 1:1, events which they would
see as not being dealt with per se in the opening verses of Scripture at
Then there are those grammarians who see the “waw” beginning verse
two as disjunctive. These
grammarians would see the Hebrew “waw” beginning the verse being
understood in a similar sense to the way in which the Greek word de is
used in the New Testament (normally disjunctive), as opposed to the Greek word
kai (the word used to show a conjunctive sense). In this respect, the
translators of the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) used
de to translate the first “waw” in what was apparently meant to be a
disjunctive sense beginning Genesis 1:2
(with the conjunctive kai used to translate the remaining two “waws”
beginning the other two circumstantial clauses in the verse).
Using the King James Version (KJV)
text to illustrate, the translators of the Septuagint used de and kai
to translate the three Hebrew “waws” in this manner:
And [De, lit., But] the
earth was without form, and void; and [kai] darkness
was upon the face of the deep. And [kai] the Spirit of God
moved upon the face of the waters.
And, viewing the verse beginning in a disjunctive sense of
the preceding nature, there would be no connection between the first two verses
of Genesis. Rather, a separation
would exist instead. Within this view, one would normally see verse
one revealing an absolute beginning, with verse
two (along with the following verses)
revealing events occurring at later points in time.
holding this linguistic view see verse two as a description of God’s
perfect creation [from verse one] being brought into a ruined state,
separated from verse one by an unrevealed period of time. And they
would, accordingly, see God’s activity during the six days as activity
surrounding the restoration of this ruined creation.
Some holding this linguistic view
though still see the six days as time revealing God’s creative activity. They
view verse one as describing a “grand summary declaration that God
created the universe in the beginning.” Then, apart from seeing a
connection between v. 1 and v. 2, they view God’s activity during
the six days as a revelation concerning how God accomplished that which He had
previously stated in verse one.)
2. The Hebrew Word “Hayah”
Hayah is the Hebrew word translated “was” in most English versions of
Genesis 1:2 (“The earth was. . . .”).
The word is found numerous times throughout chapter
one and about 3,570 times in the
entire Old Testament.
The etymology of the word is somewhat questionable (most look at the probable
primary meaning of hayah as “falling” or “to fall”). Hebrew scholars
though see the word used over and over in the Old Testament in the sense of “to
be,” “to become,” or “to come to pass.” And through attempts to trace the
etymology of the word, comparing the Hebrew with the Arabic (a related Semitic
language), and seeing how the word is used in the Old Testament, many scholars
have come to look upon the word in the sense of a verb of being (“to
be”). But scholars also recognize that it is not completely valid to equate the
word with the English verb of being after this fashion.
The word is translated different ways in English versions — e.g., “was” or
“were” (Genesis 1:2,
3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13, etc.), “be” (Genesis
1:3, 6, 14, 29,
etc.), “became [or, ‘to become’]” (Genesis 2:7,
10; 3:22, etc.). But that’s in English versions. In the
Latin Vulgate there are thirteen instances where hayah has been
translated in the sense of “became” in Genesis
chapter one alone; and in the
Septuagint there are twenty-two such instances in this one chapter (out of the
twenty-seven times hayah appears in chapter
The first use of hayah in Scripture is in
Genesis 1:2 — the verse under
consideration in this study. But going beyond this verse for a moment, note how
the word is used elsewhere in chapter one.
Hayah appears twice in verse three,
translated “be” and “was.” And translating, “Let light be [or ‘become’]:
and light became,” would actually best convey the thought of that which
Then note verses 5, 8, 13, 19,
23, 31. The word hayah appears two times in the latter
part of each verse (both translated in the English text by the one word,
“were”). Translating literally from the Hebrew, using “was” in the translation,
the text would read, “. . . And there was
evening and there was morning, [comprising]
the first day . . . the second day . . . the third day,”
Actually though, “became” would really better convey the thought surrounding
that which occurred, for evening and morning came to pass, “became,” comprising
each of the six different days.
Leupold, a Hebrew grammarian from past years, in his
commentary on Genesis, appears to
capture the overall thought of hayah to mark beginning points in each day
quite well by translating, “. . . Then came
evening, then came morning — the first day the second day . . . the
third day,” etc.
Then note the words, “. . . and it was so,”
at the end of verses 7,
9, 11, 15, 24, 30. “Was” in each
reference is a translation of the word hayah, and it is easy to see that
“became” rather than “was” would really provide a better description of that
which occurred in each instance, translating, “. . .
and it became so” (cf. “Let there
be [a translation of hayah] . . . .” [vv.
Though hayah has been translated “was,” “were,” or “be” throughout the
first chapter of
Genesis, the word is actually used
mainly throughout this chapter in the sense of “be,” “became,” or “had become.”
Attention is called to this fact because numerous
individuals look at the translation “became [or ‘had become’]”as so rare in the
Old Testament that serious consideration should not be given to the thought of
translating Genesis 1:2, “And
[or But] the earth became [or had become] . . . .” But
the rarity is in the English translations, not in a literal Hebrew rendering or
in certain other translations (e.g., in the KJV
there are only 17 instances in all of Genesis
where hayah has been translated “became [or, ‘. . . become’]” [2:7,
10; 3:22; 9:15; 18:18; 19:26; 20:12;
21:20; 24:67; 32:10; 34:16; 37:20; 47:20,
26; 48:19]; but in the Septuagint there are at least 146
instances [and some 1,500 in the entire Old Testament]).
3. The Hebrew Text Alone
Can linguistic questions surrounding the first two verses of
Genesis be resolved from the Hebrew
text alone? Can one determine from the Hebrew text alone whether the “waw”
beginning verse two should be
understood as conjunctive or disjunctive? Or can one determine from the Hebrew
text alone how the word hayah should be translated in verse
two? Or can one determine from the
Hebrew structure of verse two alone
how the remainder of the first
chapter should be understood in an overall sense?
Some Hebrew scholars would answer in the affirmative. But, because of the
different ways a number of Hebrew scholars view the matter at hand, using the
Hebrew text alone, the issue could only be resolved within their minds and
possibly within the minds of others who follow their same line of reasoning.
And note that the issue would be resolved by different scholars after entirely
different fashions, all based on their understanding of the grammatical
structure of the Hebrew text.
However, there is another way to approach the matter; and that
other way is to see how the whole of Scripture deals with the issue at hand. If
the whole of Scripture can be shown to support one view alone — which it can
— then the correct linguistic understanding of
Genesis 1:2 and the corresponding
correct interpretation of chapter one
can easily and unquestionably be demonstrated.
This is not to say that Genesis 1:2
or the first chapter of
Genesis as a whole cannot be
understood correctly apart from first going to the remainder of Scripture, for
that cannot be the case. God would not have begun His revelation to man after a
fashion that man could not have understood apart from subsequent revelation
(requiring approx. 1,500 years to complete). But this is to say that the
correct linguistic position for Genesis 1:2
and the correct corresponding interpretation of the entire chapter — which can
be shown by going to the remainder of Scripture — is a position that God would
have expected man to see as evident when he began reading at this
point in Genesis, though man many times does not do so.
Thus, in this respect, knowledge of the way in which the Hebrew text is
structured is really not going to resolve the issue at hand. And time has been
spent in the Hebrew construction of Genesis 1:2 and other related passages, not in an attempt to
resolve the issue, but to demonstrate two basic things: (a) There are good,
reputable Hebrew scholars who hold varying views on the opening verses of
Genesis, which are many times based
strictly on their understanding of the structure of the Hebrew text, apart from
contextual considerations; and (b) though the linguistics of the Hebrew text
(within the different ways scholars understand the linguistics of the text) will
support any one of these views, all but one are out of line with the
remainder of Scripture and are, consequently, wrong.
That is to say, though it may be possible to support different views from the
structure of the Hebrew text alone, different views cannot be supported
when the remainder of Scripture is taken into consideration — with or without
the Hebrew text. Scripture will support only one view, and that one view
is the position alluded to in the opening portion of this chapter.
Scripture will support “Creation” (an absolute creation [v.
1]), a “Ruin” of the creation (which means that the “waw”
beginning v. 2 must be understood in a disjunctive sense [But], and the
Hebrew word hayah must be understood in the sense of “became [or had
become]” [v. 2a]), a “Restoration” of the ruined creation (performed
entirely through divine intervention [vv.
2b-25]), and “Rest” (six days of restorative work, followed by one
day of rest [1:2b-2:3]).
And to illustrate this is not difficult at all. In fact, the opposite is true.
It is a very simple matter to illustrate, from other Scripture, exactly how the
opening verses of Genesis must
In this respect, first note the words tohu wavahu
from the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:2.
The words tohu wavohu from the Hebrew text of
Genesis 1:2 are translated “without
form and void” in the KJV
English text (“formless and void,"
New American Standard Bible [NASB]; “formless and empty,”
New International Version [NIV]; “waste
and void” American Standard Version [ASV]).
These two Hebrew words are used together only two other places throughout all of
the Old Testament—in Isaiah 34:11
and Jeremiah 4:23. And both of
these passages present a ruin of that previously seen existing in an orderly
In Isaiah 34:11,
Edom (v. 6) was destined to become
tohu wavohu (translated “confusion” and “emptiness” [KJV],
“desolation” and “emptiness” [NASB]; and
in Jeremiah 4:23-28, there is a
comparison of that which had previously occurred relative to the earth in
Genesis 1:2a to that which was
about to occur relative to the land of Israel.
The land of Israel was about to become tohu wavohu.
That is, as seen in Jeremiah 4:23-28,
God was about to do the same thing to the land of Israel (cf. vv.
14:22) that He had previously done
to the earth in Genesis 1:2a. And
the reason for both of these actions — that which God had done to the earth, and
that which He was about to do to the land of Israel — was the same. Sin had
entered (sin on the part of Satan in the former, and sin on
the part of the Jewish people in the latter).
And, in complete keeping with this type understanding of
the use of tohu wavohu in Isaiah 34:11
and Jeremiah 4:23,
Isaiah 45:18 (where the Hebrew word tohu is used,
translated “in vain”) clearly states that God did not create the earth (in
Genesis 1:1) in the manner described
in Genesis 1:2a.
Isaiah 45:18 states that God “created
it [the earth] not in vain [not ‘tohu,’ not ‘without
Thus, if Genesis 1:2a
is to be understood in the light of related Scripture bearing on the subject,
there can be only one possible interpretation — the ruin of a prior existing
creation (from v. 1)
because of sin. The earth from verse one
“became” tohu wavohu.
The ruin seen in both
and Jeremiah 4:23, for a
purpose is with a view to eventual restoration. And the restoration
seen in the continuing text of Genesis 1:2
(vv. 2b-25) and in the
overall passage of Jeremiah 4:23ff
(v. 27b), as well as in
related Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 35:1ff),
is also for a purpose.
Then, the whole of subsequent Scripture is perfectly in
line with this type understanding of the opening section of Scripture. The
whole of subsequent Scripture is built on a septenary structure, with the
foundation established and set in an unchangeable fashion at the beginning, in
That is to say:
The heavens and the earth
were created, there was ruin of the material creation (because of sin), God took
six days to restore the ruined creation, and He rested the seventh day.
Man was created on the
sixth day, man fell into a state of ruin (because of sin), God is presently
taking six days [6,000 years] to restore man, and God will rest the seventh day
(the seventh 1,000-year period [cf. 2 Peter
And the latter, patterned after the former, is what the
whole of Scripture is about. The whole of Scripture is about the same thing
initially introduced and established in an unchangeable fashion in the opening
thirty-four verses of Genesis (1:1-2:3).
The whole of Scripture is about the creation of man, his ruin, his restoration
over a six-day period (over a 6,000-year period), followed by a seventh day of
rest (a seventh 1,000-year period — the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God
[Hebrews 4:9; cf. vv.
the Messianic Era).
As previously stated, man would have been expected to
understand this opening section of Scripture after the preceding fashion at the
time it was written. And subsequent Scripture simply verifies the correctness
of the way man would have been expected to understand these verses, apart from
other revelation at the time Genesis was written.
The structure of God’s revelation to man will be set forth
briefly under three headings, and material discussed under these three headings
will relate specifically to how particular sections of Scripture handle the
matter at hand. Then attention will be called to other related Scriptures
outside these sections to better present the overall picture from the whole of
1. The Sign of the Sabbath
The Sabbath was given to Israel as a sign, and the
Sabbath was to be observed by the Jewish people “throughout
their generations, for a perpetual
covenant” (Exodus 31:16).
In this respect, God stated concerning the Sabbath,
It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever:
for in six days the LORD made heavens and earth, and on the seventh day
He rested and was refreshed. (Exodus
When giving the Sabbath to Israel (cf.
Exodus 20:11) or referring to the
Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God in the book of
Hebrews (4:4-9), in each
instance, for a very good reason, God called attention to that which had
occurred in Genesis chapters
two. There is a latter work of restoration, followed by rest, which
is based on a former work of restoration, followed by rest; and the Sabbath was
given to Israel to keep this thought ever before the Jewish people.
That is, though the sign of the Sabbath concerned a present work and future
rest, it was based on a past work and rest. God worked six days to
restore a ruined creation in the opening chapter of
Genesis; and on the sixth day, along
with the completion of His work of restoration, He brought man into existence to
rule over the restored material creation. Then God rested on the seventh day.
But a ruin ensued once again. Man, an entirely new
creation in the universe, fell; and, as a result, the restored material creation
was brought under a curse (Genesis 3:17), leaving God with two ruined creations: man,
and the material creation.
With that in mind, how did God, in the Genesis
account, set about to restore these two ruined creations? The answer is not
only clearly revealed but it is also very simple.
According to Scripture, God set about to restore the
subsequent ruined creations in exactly the same manner as He had restored
the former ruined creation in the opening chapter of
Genesis. God set about to restore the
two subsequent ruined creations over a six-day period (in keeping with
Genesis 1:2b-25); and, in keeping with
Genesis 2:2, 3,
following His restoration work, God would then rest on the seventh day.
The latter restoration must occur in complete keeping with the former
restoration. A divinely-designed pattern had been set in the former restoration
that could not be changed. Thus, the latter restoration must occur over
a six-day period. And this six-day period of restorative work must, as the
former, be followed by a day of rest.
From a biblical standpoint, it is not possible for the matter to occur in a
different manner. And the Sabbath was given to Israel to keep the thought ever
before the Jewish people that, in accord with the opening verses of
Genesis, God was going to once again
rest for one day following six days of work to effect the restoration of that
which is presently in a ruined state (both man and the material creation).
The Sabbath was a “sign,” and a sign in Scripture
points to something beyond itself. This “sign,” the Sabbath, points to a
seventh-day rest that God will enter into with His people (“the people of
God” in Hebrews 4:9)
following six previous days of restorative work.
Each day in the former restoration and rest was twenty-four hours in length, but
each day in the latter restoration and rest is revealed to be one thousand years
in length (2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:3-8;
cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5). Based on the pattern set forth in
two, God is going to work for six thousand years during the present
restoration and then rest the seventh one-thousand-year period.
Scripture begins by laying the basis for this septenary arrangement of time in
the opening verses (Genesis 1, 2).
Then, accordingly, this is something seen throughout Scripture (Exodus
31:13-17; Numbers 19:12;
Hosea 5:15-6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 17:1; Luke 24:21;
John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1; 5:9; 9:14;
11:6, 7; Hebrews 4:1, 4, 9). And the
matter is then brought to a conclusion in
Revelation chapter twenty,
where the 1,000-year Messianic Era is mentioned six times (vv.
2-7), immediately prior to the eternal
ages that are seen to follow (chapters 21,
Scripture deals with 7,000 years of time — time extending from the
restoration of the earth and the creation of man to the end of the
Messianic Kingdom. Scripture has very little to say about what occurred prior
to these 7,000 years, and it also has very little to say about what will occur
following these 7,000 years. Scripture is built on this septenary arrangement
of time, which is based on the opening two chapters of
Genesis; and this is an evident fact
which must be recognized if one would correctly understand God’s
redemptive plans and purposes that He has revealed in His Word.
2. The Signs in John’s Gospel
The gospel of John is built around eight signs; and, as in the sign of the
Sabbath, the signs in this gospel point to things beyond the signs themselves.
It is the Jews who require a sign (1
Corinthians 1:22); and these signs, taken from numerous signs that
Jesus performed during His earthly ministry, are directed (as was His ministry
in that day) to the Jewish people.
Jesus performed such signs for
one central purpose:
. that you [the Jews] might believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.
(John 20:30, 31; cf. John 2:11; 5:46, 47;
6:14, 21; 11:45).
Seven of the eight signs in John’s gospel were performed in
connection with particular days, all in perfect keeping with one another, all in
perfect keeping with the sign of the Sabbath, and all in perfect keeping with
the septenary arrangement of Scripture. And all of the signs refer, after
different fashions, to the same thing. They all refer to things surrounding
Israel’s coming salvation and restoration.
The first sign, in 2:1-11,
has to do with Jesus turning the water in six water pots to wine (“six,” man’s
number; the water pots made from the earth, as man; filled with water [the
Word]; and through divine intervention a change ensues). This sign, pointing to
the future salvation of Israel as the wife of Jehovah, occurred on the
seventh day (1:29, 35, 43; 2:1), which is when Israel will
enter into these experiences foreshadowed by the sign.
The second sign, in 4:40-54,
has to do with the healing of a nobleman’s son. This sign occurred on the
third day (vv. 40, 43), after
Jesus had spent two days with the Samaritans. It will be after two
days visiting “the Gentiles,
to take out of them a people for His name,” that on the third day
Jesus will return to the Jewish people to effect healing for the nation (cf.
The third sign, in 5:1-9,
also had to do with healing, with a man being healed at a particular time. This
healing occurred after thirty-eight years, on the Sabbath (vv.
The reference (drawn from an Old Testament type) would be to the healing of the
nation through the second generation of Israelites being allowed to enter the
land under Joshua after thirty-eight years (dating from the overthrow at
Kadesh-Barnea). And both the sign and type would foreshadow the same future
event. They would both point to that future time when the nation will be healed
and will be allowed to enter the land under Christ, an event which will occur
on the seventh day, the Sabbath.
The fourth sign, in 6:1-14, has
to do with bread being provided for the multitudes; and the sign occurred in
connection with the Passover (v. 4).
Jesus is that “bread of life” which will be provided for the nation yet future
(v. 35), and the Passover is
the festival in Leviticus 23 that
has to do with the future salvation of Israel, when the nation will receive the
true “bread of life.” Israel has slain the Lamb (cf.
Exodus 12:6; Acts 2:36; 3:14,
15), but the nation has yet to
appropriate the blood (cf. Exodus 12:7,
13; Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26). The Passover,
the first of seven Jewish festivals outlining a prophetic calendar and sequence
of events in relation to Israel, will be fulfilled in that coming day when
Israel does appropriate the blood. And this will then be followed by a
continued supernatural provision for the nation, exactly as foreshadowed by the
The fifth sign, in 6:15-21,
has to do with Christ’s departure, a storm, His return, the disciples’ attitude
toward Him at this time, and the geographical location in which they
subsequently found themselves. It points to Christ’s departure from Israel two
thousand years ago (v. 15), the
coming Tribulation (vv. 16-18),
Christ’s return (vv. 19, 20), the
nation receiving Him (v. 21a), and
the nation's restoration to the land (v. 21b).
This is the only sign not providing a specific reference to particular days, but
the chronology must be understood in the light of the other six signs.
The sixth sign, in 9:1-41,
has to do with the healing of a blind man, on the Sabbath day (v.
14). This points to Israel’s future
deliverance from her blindness (Romans 11:25), which will occur on the seventh day,
the Sabbath. Or, as in Luke 24:13-31,
it will occur after two days (dating from the crucifixion), on the
third day (v. 21).
The seventh sign, in 11:1-44,
has to do with the resurrection of Lazarus. This resurrection occurred after
Jesus had been out of the land of Judea two days, on the third day
7), after Lazarus had lain in the grave four days (v.
17). This points to Israel’s future
resurrection (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Daniel 12:2)
after two days, on the third day; and at this time Israel
will have been in the place of death four days, dating four millennia
back to Abraham.
The eighth sign, in
20:1-29, has to do with Christ’s
resurrection, after two days, on the third day. This sign pints
to that coming third day, dating from the crucifixion, when not only Israel but
all of God’s firstborns (Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the
adoption]) will be raised up to live in His sight, which will be after two
days, on the third day.
3. The Structure of 2 Peter
Second Peter parallels
Jude in the sense that both deal with
the Word of the Kingdom and apostasy after a similar fashion.
Both epistles begin the same way. The first
chapter of 2 Peter is taken up with
that which is stated in one verse in Jude
(v. 3). Then the matter of
apostasy is dealt with throughout most of the remainder of both epistles.
However, there are things dealt with in the
first and third chapters
of 2 Peter, showing the septenary
structure of the epistle, which are not dealt with at all in
Peter exhorts his readers to make their “calling
[pertaining to the kingdom] and election [‘selection’ for a position of
power and authority in the kingdom] sure” (1:1-15);
and Jude states the same thing in
Jude 3 when he exhorts his readers
to “earnestly contend for
[‘earnestly strive (Greek: epagonizomai,
meaning to earnestly strain every muscle of one’s being) with respect to’]
the faith” (cf.
1 Timothy 6:12;
2 Timothy 4:7, 8). Then the thought of apostasy
relative to “the faith” comes into view in both epistles.
However, Peter does something which
Jude does not do. Before beginning
his dissertation on apostasy he calls attention to that which occurred on the
Mount in Matthew 17:1-8 (2
Peter 1:16-18), which has to do with the Son of Man coming in His
kingdom, after six days, on the seventh day (cf.
Then toward the end of his epistle, Peter,
unlike Jude, moves from thoughts
surrounding apostasy to thoughts surrounding the existence and subsequent
destruction of the heavens and the earth at two different times.
At a time following the creation of the heavens and the earth (“the
heavens . . . of old”
and “the world that then was [the
world existing at the time of ‘the heavens
. . . of old’ (in Genesis 1:1,
not during the days of Noah)]” [2 Peter 3:
At a time following the restoration of the heavens and the earth
(“the heavens and the earth that are now,”
existing since the restoration in Genesis
1:2b-25 [2 Peter 3:
The destruction of the former is seen in
Genesis 1:2a (“But
the earth had become without form,
and void; and darkness [the sun had ceased to give its light]
was upon the face of the deep [the
raging waters]”), and the destruction of the latter — destruction by fire — is
seen in succeeding verses in 2 Peter
Peter then draws the entire matter to a climax by stating that “one
day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day” (3:8).
Understood contextually (vv. 3-7),
the verse is self-explanatory. “The heavens
and the earth, which are now”
(v. 7) must cover the entire
septenary period from chapter one
(vv. 16-18), else
2 Peter 3:8 would be meaningless. And
each day in this period is revealed to be one thousand years in length — six
millennia of work, followed by one millennium of rest, based on the opening
verses of Genesis.
(Note one thing about the restoration in Genesis 1:2b-25 that should be
understood. This restoration could only have been a complete restoration.
No trace of “the world that then was” [the world preceding the ruin seen
in Genesis 1:2a], or the subsequent ruined earth [in Genesis 1:2a],
can be seen in “the heavens and the earth, which are now.”
complete restoration would have removed all traces of anything having to
do with “the world that then was” or with that world during that time
when it lay in a ruined state. That is to say, geology today cannot show
evidence of any type ruin of a pre-existing creation, for a complete
restoration — the only type restoration possible through the divine work
seen in Genesis chapter one — would have removed all traces
of the ruin occurring in Genesis 1:2a.
this respect, all that exists in the present secular world of history and
science — e.g., the complete fossil record, the dinosaurs, topographical
formations such as the Grand Canyon, etc.— would all have to be placed this side
of the restoration seen in Genesis 1:2b-25, within time covered by “the
heavens and the earth, which are now.”
That which occurred during and which resulted from the Noachian Flood, 1656
years following the restoration of the earth (Genesis 6-8), along with
later topographical changes on the earth during the days of Peleg [born 100
after the Flood (Genesis 10:25), must be looked to for an
explanation of numerous things of the preceding nature, not to a world lying in
ruins in Genesis 1:2a, or to a world existing prior to that time.)
By viewing the whole of Scripture, the correct
interpretation of the opening verses of
Genesis can be clearly and unquestionably presented through:
The manner in which the Hebrew words from
Genesis 1:2a, tohu wavohu, are
used elsewhere in Scripture (interpreting Scripture in the light of Scripture [Isaiah
34:11; 45:18; Jeremiah 4:23]).
And through the typical nature of Old Testament history (1
Corinthians 10:6, 11),
which has been set forth in a very evident divinely established septenary
And these opening verses, providing the divinely
established basis for that which follows, must be understood accordingly.
The Bible is a book of redemption; and only a correct view of the opening
verses of Genesis can reflect
positively, at the very outset, on God’s redemptive message as a whole —
the restoration of a ruined creation, performed in its entirety
through divine intervention, for a revealed purpose.
An incorrect view, on the other hand, can only have negative ramifications.
Creation alone, apart from a ruin and restoration of the creation, fails to
convey the complete message at the outset of the Word; and Restoration alone
(viewing the opening verse as other than an absolute beginning), apart from a
record of the preceding creation and ruin, likewise fails to convey the complete
message at this opening point in Scripture.
It is as F. W. Grant stated years ago relative to the existing parallel between
the creation and ruin of the earth and the subsequent creation and ruin of man:
“The thought of a ruined condition of the earth succeeding its original creation
. . . is . . . required by the typical view [that is, the earth’s creation,
ruin, and subsequent restoration forms a type of (foreshadows) man’s creation,
ruin, and subsequent restoration].”
Accordingly, the opening verses of
Genesis cannot deal strictly with
Creation; nor can these verses deal strictly with Restoration.
Either view would be out of line with the whole of Scripture, beginning with the
central theme of Scripture, the message of redemption.
The only interpretative view that will fit — at all points —
within the divinely established septenary arrangement of Scripture (which has it
basis in these opening verses) is:
Creation (an absolute
beginning, and a perfect creation [v. 1]).
A Ruin of the Creation (v. 2a).
A Restoration of the Ruined Creation (vv.
Rest (in the type — six twenty-four-hour days of restorative work,
followed by a twenty-four-hour day of rest; in the antitype — six 1,000-year
days of restorative work, followed by a 1,000-year day of rest [1:2b-2:3]).