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More Questions on the Book of Genesis:

120 Years, Helpmeet, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

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Question #1:   I've question for you in regards to Genesis 6:3 where God is talking about dwelling with man no longer than 120 years. Our pastor thinks that the 120 years is referring to a jubilee which he explains as 50 years each. So 120 years x 50 years = 6,000 years. I've looked through the Strong's definitions and can't figure out where he's getting this. Maybe I'm missing something but all the definitions that I'm finding seem to be pretty literal of the definitions. He's not saying anything about dates or anything of that nature, but he's said this for years and I've never taken the time to research it until now. 

Response #1:  Well, I'm always reluctant to comment on what other people's pastors have to say when they are clearly under said pastor's teaching authority and if it's not a case of some terrible heresy (as this clearly is not, agree or disagree). One very important reason for this is that a believer who is not capable of feeding him/herself spiritually (and that includes all believers who are not prepared, gifted, functioning teachers), need a steady stream of good consistent teaching. That almost always equates with sticking to a single source. Otherwise, the occasional contradictions between even theologically close pastors/teachers can undermine a person's faith – and the whole idea is to be built up by teaching, not broken down. For many believers, especially those who are not particularly advanced in their spiritual growth, even phrasing the same teaching a different way can seem like a contradiction and cause doubts.

However, it is your responsibility to make these judgments, namely, where to go to church, to whom to give your attention as a teaching authority, when and how and if to supplement with other sources. So, as to your question, I will say that I have never heard this theory before and am not initially inclined to see things this way (which is not the same as saying "it's wrong"). I will share with you what I have written about this passage (in BB 2A: Angelology):

The divine displeasure evident in the verse [Genesis 6:3] above (very odd if the two preceding verses were only relating normal human procreation which had been divinely commanded in Gen.1:28) follows directly on the heels of the intermarriage described in Genesis 6:1-2. Verse three suggests a double judgment of the most extreme severity. In a mere 120 years (brief by the extended life spans of the time), God would all but bring the human race to an end. And for the progeny of those who would survive in the postdiluvian world to come, the longevity Man had previously experienced (nearly a millennium in some cases) would be reduced to a scant 120 years, and this would be a maximum norm scarcely ever approached, and only rarely exceeded. Even in such dire judgment, however, God's gracious nature is clearly perceptible, because for the one family of believers left on earth (i.e., that of Noah), the 120 years were an important grace period that gave the necessary time for the ark – God's chosen means of deliverance – to be completed. It is ever thus that by the patience of our God we are delivered (1Pet.3:20; cf. Is.48:9; Rom.2:4; 2Pet.3:9; 3:15).

As you see, I'm inclined to see the 120 years both as a literal countdown to the flood, and as a prophetic indication of one of the great changes that would follow (i.e., the setting of an upper end to the human life span (seldom exceeded) which would be far short of what had obtained before the flood. As you know, I do teach the seven millennial days of human history (see the link: in SR 5, "The Seven Days of Human History"). Your pastor's theory would leave us with only six (i.e., no Millennium), unless we were to interpret "striving" to mean the time period prior to Christ's personal rule. In any case, as I say, while the Seven Days are taught clearly enough in scripture (and paralleled by the seven days re-creation in Genesis 1-2), I don't personally see the necessary connection in the context for this particular interpretation.

Hope this is some help.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

The following quote found on your page:

The Fall of Man:  The Creation of Eve

"Then the Lord God said [immediately after giving Adam instructions not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in verse 17], "It is not a good thing for the man to be alone. I will make for him a helper compatible with him". "

The subject of equality was brought up before here "Is "helpmeet" a wrong translation in Genesis 2:20?", and your response was only to refer to the prior website.

My questions: Where did you come up with the word "compatible" in your translation of scripture and why did you not use the word "suitable" which literally means "corresponding to, i.e. "equal and adequate to himself", since this is the Hebrew translation into the English (p.617 of Strong's)?

Thank you,

Response #2: 

Good to make your acquaintance. As with all of the unattributed translations at Ichthys, this is my own rendering (see "How to use Bible translations at Ichthys"). To begin with, I'm not sure I would unreservedly assent to your statement that the word suitable "literally means 'corresponding to', i.e. 'equal and adequate to himself' since this is the Hebrew translation into the English (p.617 of Strong's)". Strong's is a concordance of one particular version (the KJV), and the practice of all concordances of which I am aware is to list all the ways that a particular word is actually translated in the version which they are collating, irrespective of context. Since words cannot be separated from their contexts, however, it is a mistake to think that anything in the collection of words and phrases lumped under a single entry can be used interchangeable. They quite simply cannot be. For example, #2388 chazaq lists "cleave" and "play the man" - and it is difficult to imagine any English situation where these might be interchanged. "Suitable to" and "corresponding to" may be taken as synonymous, but they are not precisely identical (i.e., they most definitely do have different connotations). That said, I will try and explain my translation.

This phrase, ceneghdo, translated "compatible with him" is, literally, not a single word but rather two different prepositions compounded and with a third person masculine suffix appended thereto (i.e., the "him" part). The preposition ce is often used in a comparative sense meaning "like" or "as", while the second preposition, negedh, is normally used in a spatial sense "in front of" or "opposite to". Finally, the suffix "him" clearly refers to Adam here. Putting the three together and representing them in English is, of course, like all translation a matter of interpretation. We can't very well translate this phrase "as in front of him" – that would be translationese and a disservice to readers. We might as well just transliterate the phrase ceneghdo and let readers guess what it means, since that is what they would be doing with "as in front of him" in any case. So we do have to interpret; that is, we have to look at the original Hebrew with a sensitivity to what these words mean in this context and do the best we can from our experience with the Hebrew language to gauge what is actually meant here, then render it accordingly in English.

Here is how the phrase in question in the Hebrew is explained in context of the study you are asking about: "she is to be 'someone who corresponds to him' (Hebrew: כנגדו, ceneghdo), that is, someone who complements and fulfills him in all compatibility". I wouldn't call the translation "suitable" (NIV) incorrect. It's just that such a translation begs the question of what suitability might mean, and since there is nothing in any of the Hebrew words here to indicate the notion of something/someone "suiting" something/someone, I went in a more precise direction (KJV "meet" suffers from the same problem of lack of specificity). It is clear from context that the suitability which the Bible tells us was lacking for Adam was indeed compatibility, that is, a more than strictly physical correspondence, so that "corresponding to" (which would be a fairly close rendering of the Hebrew if one assumes a merely spatial relationship) needs to be fleshed out, so to speak. All major versions do this, and rightly so. But "compatible with him" (from the Latin patior) has the advantage of making the correspondence more clearly spiritual as well as physical. All of these translations indicate a certain basic correspondence between Adam and Eve; none of the ones we have been discussing is wrong, and each, if properly explained, adds something to the understanding of the phrase in question. In the end, however, translation is always about choice, and I continue to believe that "compatible with him" does the best job of explaining the body-spirit correspondence between Adam and Eve which scripture is really relating here.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #3: 

 I have heard in bible study that Jacob actually wrestled with Jesus because Jacob said that he had seen God "face to face" and lived. But this verse throws me off when Jesus said "no man has seen God at any time." Why would Jesus be referred to as an "angel" of the Lord if He is God? and angels are created beings. Did Jacob really wrestle with the pre-incarnate Christ?

Response #3: 

I believe he did. Our Lord is the visible member of the Godhead, and He frequently appears in the days before His incarnation in a form which approximates that of an angelic creature (which, of course, He is not and never was; cf. Gal.3:19 where "angels" means "appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ" since there is no mention in Exodus of any "angels" in our sense giving the Law). For example, in Eden, we have the same sort of "appearance" of our Lord, only without the use of the word "angel". This is not as much of a difficulty as it might appear, for it is only in English that the word "angel" is problematic. In both Greek and Hebrew the words mala'ach and angelos respectively literally mean first "messenger" and second "[God's] messenger", i.e., what we have come to call "angels" through our transliteration of the Greek word (but the technical sense we expect is missing in the original languages). So the use of mala'ach or angelos in Hebrew and Greek respectively does not automatically signal the species of created entity which we always have in mind in English when we use the word "angel". Jesus often appears or is referred to in the Old Testament as the "Angel of the Lord" – since He is the premier One "sent" by the Father and the commander of all the hosts (cf. the second advent). Our inability in English to see the word "angel" as anything but a technical term for one of the non-corporeal created creatures whom God made before Man makes this issue of Christophany more difficult for us than it otherwise might be. You can find out much more on the details at the following links:

The Trinity in the Old Testament (in Basics #1)

Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (Christophany: Gen.3:8)

Christophany in the Exodus

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hi Dr. Luginbill:

Does the Hebrew of Genesis 2:24 read, "... cleave to *his* wife..." or "... cleave to *a/the* wife"?  Does ancient Hebrew use words (I think they are called possessive pronouns – it has been a while since I studied English) such as "his"?  Are such pronouns translated from a single word, using context to determine whether they should be translated as his or her or its?

Thank you, as always, for your response.

Response #4: 

The word "his" is there, although in Hebrew it occurs as a suffix.  This is rather unique to Hebrew, but the suffix is masculine singular, and therefore ought to be translated as "his" as is the case with most translations of which I am aware.

In our Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I was doing some reading in the Book and ran across something strange. It was contained in Genesis 22:12.

..And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.

Now after reading your study on the Theology of God it would "seem" that there is a contradiction since God is omniscient and knew before the foundation of the world was laid what Abraham really felt and believed. So my question is, am I not understanding what this passage is "really" saying or was something lost in the translation. This is important to me and any insight you could provide would be deeply appreciated.

In Christ,

Response #5: 

Thanks for your question. God clearly knows the end from the beginning, because He has ordained everything that will ever happen before the world began (Is.46:10). So what are we to make of this passage? Two things, I think:

1) First, technically speaking, there is no contradiction. For the verse says, as you quote "For now I know", equally translatable (and technically semantically identical in English as) "For at this time I know". This does not actually say what we might assume when dealing with other human beings that "and I didn't know this before". It may seem to be implied, but it is fair to observe that whenever we assume something about what people mean when they say something although it is not contained specifically in their actual words that our assumptions are only as good as our reading of their character, personality, and intellect. And sometimes we make mistakes when dealing with people on this level, especially if they are not particularly well-known to us. God is, obviously, quite different. One thing we know or ought to know well about Him is that He is omniscient and, even more than that, has decreed all that will come to pass (factoring in every free-will creature decision in history). I am sure that Abraham did not take the Lord's words to mean "I didn't realize you feared God before this". That would certainly put our Lord's character in a pretty bad light, since He would then have been in a position of having laid upon someone of unknown character a terrifically difficult test that only a handful of believers in the history of the world would be capable of passing.

Indeed, what we understand from this story, from our knowledge of Abraham generally, and from our knowledge of the Lord in particular, is that it was precisely because Abraham feared God to an exceptional degree that he was blessed to be tested in this extraordinary fashion, put in the analogous position of God the Father Himself in the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to give all believers to come some sliver of an idea of what it cost to redeem us from our sins (cf. Heb.11:17-19). God knew very well all this before the fact, but until it was a fact, until Abraham had demonstrated by his actions what was truly in his heart, and had shown the world of men and angels by his deeds that his faith in God and respect for God and obedience to God were paramount, surpassing everything else including his concern for Isaac whom he loved more than his own life, this fact was not, technically speaking, "knowable" (by anyone else but God).

We often find ourselves asking "why, God?", and here we see a large part of the answer: but for the actual demonstration of faith under the pressures of life, God may know (and does), but neither we nor other people nor the angels above can "know" until that demonstration unveils the reality. This is why the sacrifice of Isaac is one of James' prime example of what "faith through works" really means: responding to God in the way He desires, regardless of any other pressures to the contrary (Jas.2:20-24).

2) It is also important to mention briefly here a feature of scripture often called in theology "language of accommodation". That is to say, we have ways of expressing ourselves as human beings which are universal and universally understood, and to ignore these would only be distracting and confusing. For example, even in our science-worshiping day and age, we still say things like "sunrise" and "sunset" and we don't feel constrained to add at every use " . . . but of course the sun doesn't actually rise/set!". In a similar way, God often describes Himself in human terms to fit our way of looking at things. For example, when He says that He "repents" or "grieves" over some action (e.g., Gen.6:6-7; 1Sam.15:11). Clearly, God knew before the world began everything that would happen in every corner of the universe, how much more the consequences of His own direct actions! But such language is given for our benefit that we may better understand what pleases and displeases the Lord (and once again in a purely technical sense is correct even though it may seem to imply from the false parallel of comparison with human actors that God didn't realize what was going to happen).

In the One who knows the end from the beginning, Him who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

 Was Jesus in the 'loins' of Abraham when he paid ties to the Priest Melchisedec, seeing that Abraham was the father of all the Jews and, as you well know, Jesus was to be the genetic product of the Judaic/Davidic bloodline?

Response #6: 

I would agree with this: to the extent that all of Abraham's progeny were in Abraham at the time, so was the humanity of our Lord. It is also true though, of course, that Jesus' better priesthood is an eternal one based on promise, rather than a temporal one based on blood-line, and that is a big part of Paul's point in bringing up this illustration in Hebrews chapters 5-7.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

 If the humanity of Jesus was in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchisedec, would it be reasonable to assume that Jesus' humanity would then consequently also have been in the loins of Adam?

Response #7: 

In Genesis 3:15, "your Seed" clearly refers to Jesus Christ, but this is addressed to Eve, not Adam. Jesus is of course described as the "Last Adam", and we also have the genealogy of Luke which goes back to Adam (3:23ff.), but this gives His legal rather than His physical line. As our Lord was immaculately conceived, He avoided being tainted by the sin nature passed down the male line: "In Adam, all die". So I would be careful on this one. For while everyone, even Mary, is a descendant of Adam, Jesus is/was not "in Adam", i.e., He never had a sin nature, and His unique conception is at that heart of that critical distinction. Also, it is probably good to point out here that the human spirit comes directly from God in every case and is not a function of physical birth but rather it follows physical birth.

Please see the link:  Melchizedek and the high priesthood of Christ

In our sinless Lord.

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Do you have any thoughts on Joseph's dream of the 11 stars and the sun and moon bowing to him? It has always bothered me that the moon (his mom) was included in this dream, but when the time came for them to humble themselves to the fact that the Lord had elevated him to that position of status, his mom wasn't there, she had died many years ago in childbirth with Benjamin. I have tried to make this some spiritual application involving Joseph some way, but my thinking always leaves me short of what it could be. Did this perhaps have more of a future application, of how it would apply to Jesus the Messiah and the nation of Israel.......?

Thank you for your time,

In Jesus,

Response #8: 

The dream is fulfilled in its substance through Joseph's rulership of Egypt and the acknowledgment his brothers give him. It is true that there are some aspects of the dream which are not literally fulfilled (like corporate bowing to him by all, not just the fact that his mother had passed away) – and of course his brothers are not really stars, etc., merely represented thereby. As for further spiritual application, we would be remiss not to make the connection between this dream and Revelation 12, where Israel is in fact described as a woman "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and with a crown of 12 stars". In that context, her child is indeed the Messiah. Since the nation Israel comes from more than one mother (four in fact), I think both the sun and the moon there do have a broader symbolic interpretation. Here is what I write about this in CT 4: section II:

The Woman in the passage above symbolizes Israel, and these verses trace her history in synoptic form in a breathtakingly beautiful way from the patriarchs to the earliest days of the Great Tribulation, the period now under study. As the origin of both the written and the living Word of God, the Woman is clothed with the sun, the symbol of day and of light, while the moon, which rules the night and the darkness (the time and the realm of evil and evil one: Lk.22:53; 1Thes.5:4-10), lies in submission at her feet. The twelve stars in the crown on her head symbolize the twelve sons of Israel and the eponymous tribes which spring from them (Gen.37:9; cf. Gen.15:5; 22:17; 26:4). But by far Israel's most significant and glorious offspring is the Messiah Himself, our Savior Jesus Christ, whose human lineage is traced through Abraham, Isaac and Joseph (Rom.9:5; cf. Rom.9:7). Jesus is the Seed of the woman (Gen.3:15), the true Seed of Abraham (Gal.3:16), and the Son of David destined to rule all the nations with an iron scepter (Ps.2; Rom.1:3; cf. Is.4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jer.23:5; 33:15; Zech.3:8; 6:12). Thus the Messiah, the true Christ, is the Son of the Woman Israel, and all of the pangs, the pains, and the purpose of this archetypical Woman's history are focused upon, concentrated upon, and culminate in the birth of the archetypical Son, Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Son of Man, the One through whom alone salvation comes (Gen.3:16; Mic.5:3-5; cf. 1Tim.2:15).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Hi Doc!

What does it mean in Gen. 10 and 1 Chron. 1 when it says the earth was divided in the days of Peleg? I had received this:

"We know that scripture to interprets scripture, so then when 1 Chronicles 1:19 says ... "the name of the one was Peleg; because in his days the earth was divided:" ..., then we return to the context of Genesis 10-11, because that's the other mention of Peleg. Genesis refers to the dividing of the people. I do disagree regarding a super continent. It doesn't take much of a look at a flat map of the Earth to see that our current continents could have fit together at one time. Sure, there might have to be some modifications now, due to ocean currents, hurricanes, and ice ages, but fitting them all together is not that far-fetched."

Does that passage refer to the dividing or people or land? Thanks in advance!

Response #9: 

Yes indeed, it does refer to the dividing of the human race because of the confusion of language at Babel (see the link in SR5: "Satan's postdiluvian assault on the human race"). Before Babel, everyone spoke the same language which greatly contributed to human unity. We have been trained to think of that as a good thing, but since mankind is inherently sinful it most definitely turned out to be a bad thing which Satan exploited very effectively. The Lord set language variation in motion so as to create rifts in this unity and bring about the principle of nationalism instead (so that there would be firewalls against gross satanic attacks as in the case of the devil's scheme to build the tower of Babel). It is only recently that technology has begun to create a new "Babel effect" and we will see in short order how antichrist will be able to use this opportunity to create another one-world state. Rather than a paradise, however, it will give us the worst effects of the Tribulation. Only when the world is ruled as one during the Millennium under the perfect Ruler, our Lord Jesus Christ, will this sort one world situation be a good thing. So Peleg refers to the division of languages and the divisions of the nations that resulted from the language shifts – a gracious development from the hand of God which saved the human race – and not to any alteration of physical geography.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

 

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