Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)

Melchizedek has always fascinated readers and fuelled the imagination of heretics and secret societies. As long ago as the second century, Theodotus of Byzantium venerated him above Christ. Even before Jesus’ time, some of the Qumran texts treated him as an angelic figure. So who was Melchizedek? Continue reading “Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)”

What if we’re unfaithful? (Genesis 12:10-20)

YHWH called Abram to found his nation. Abram obeyed, leaving the Babel region behind, travelling to the land YHWH chose. There Abram constructed altars—symbols of YHWH’s authority.

But there are constant threats to the fulfilment of YHWH’s promise. A famine drives Abram out of the land, into the jaws of Egypt—the most powerful kingdom of the region (12:10). Abram knows that the rulers of earthly kingdoms take whatever they want, even if they have to kill to get it. He fears they will kill him to take Sarai (12:12). Continue reading “What if we’re unfaithful? (Genesis 12:10-20)”

John 3:16 — a kingdom perspective

Before we resume our series in Genesis, would you like a taste of how a familiar text jumps to life when read from a kingdom perspective?

John 3:16–17 (ESV)
16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This text expresses God’s love for his world, i.e. the gift of his Son who changes everything. Jesus is indeed the central character of the entire biblical narrative, so let’s situate this familiar text within the story of God’s kingdom. Continue reading “John 3:16 — a kingdom perspective”

The kingdom story in Genesis 1–11

Would you like a summary of all we’ve discovered?

Let’s pause our Genesis series here. Before we begin the Abraham story, it would be good to review why we are using a kingdom perspective, and how the story sounds so far. We will then provide a taste of how this perspective reshapes the way we hear familiar texts like John 3:16.

Why are we reading Scripture from a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “The kingdom story in Genesis 1–11”

Can the nations take over God’s reign? (Genesis 11)

Give people power, and they will see how far they can take it. Noah abused the power God gave him—instituting slavery. God gave them the authority to take the life of a murderer, and Nimrod twisted that power into war—the seed of empires. YHWH did not stop slavery. Nor did he stop war.

So how far can people go? Will YHWH let them take authority over everything and rule the earth in his place? That’s what humans attempt next. Continue reading “Can the nations take over God’s reign? (Genesis 11)”

Why slavery? (Genesis 9:18-29)

The kingdom of God has been re-established in Noah. In fact, the sovereign has given more power to Noah that he did to Adam. In the beginning, Adam and Eve ruled only the animals on God’s behalf. Now God has authorized human government, so Noah is the first person with divinely appointed power over the lives of others. In the framework of the ancient near east, that gives Noah great honour. How does he use the power entrusted to him?
Continue reading “Why slavery? (Genesis 9:18-29)”

Capital punishment? (Genesis 9:6)

Genesis 9:6 (NIV)
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

In re-establishing his kingdom after the flood, the divine sovereign made some concessions designed to head off the anarchic violence that wrecked the previous world: Continue reading “Capital punishment? (Genesis 9:6)”

The kingdom is a partnership (Genesis 7–8)

God warned that he would bring a flood (6:17) and send down rain (7:4). But when the flood actually comes, it is not attributed to God. The language is entirely impersonal: rain fell (7:12); the flood came (7:6, 10), the waters prevailed (7:18, 19, 20, 24). This change is obvious in English, but it is decidedly odd in the Hebrew worldview where everything that happens is attributed to God. The narrator has changed perspective: the flood is not seen as an act of God but as an attack on God’s kingdom. It is as if evil is attempting to overturn everything God established, to return his creation to the shapeless abyss it was before he spoke order into his realm (1:2). Continue reading “The kingdom is a partnership (Genesis 7–8)”

Who corrupted God’s world? (Genesis 6:1-6)

Genesis 6:2 (NIV)
The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Who were the sons of God? Who were the daughters of humankind? Why did their intermarriage corrupt the world?
Continue reading “Who corrupted God’s world? (Genesis 6:1-6)”

Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)

We felt the despair of Cain’s version of humanity—away from YHWH’s presence, run by human power, offering greater violence as the answer to violence. We felt the contrast when Seth’s renewed humanity began calling on YHWH’s authority as their hope of survival. The narrator now leads us into this godly community. Continue reading “Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)”

How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)

For too long we have read Genesis 3 as a story about individuals, and Genesis 4 as a story about some other individuals. Genesis 3–4 is a communal story. It describes how human society sinks to something that is less than human when it resists God’s authority. Adam and Eve grasped power that belonged to God. Their son grasped power over his brother. The society Cain founds is a long way from God’s intentions for humanity. Continue reading “How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)”