Joseph Herrin (11-23-2011)
Yahweh established a plan for the creation that encompasses a determined number of ages. This truth is taught in the Bible, but given little attention by Christians today. The church has very little understanding of the ages of the earth. Our world has known many different ages, and there are yet more ages to come.
The Scriptures reveal that their will be three creations of the earth, and the earth will abide in seven distinct states. The numbers three and seven are very significant in Scriptures. The tertiary (three-fold) and septenary (seven-fold) design of Yahweh is seen profusely both in the creation and in the Scriptures. We have previously observed that Yahweh established three great feasts to be observed annually by the Jews. These three feasts break down into seven individual moedim, or appointed times.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets)
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
Sukkot (Tabernacles, Booths)
This pattern is a reflection of the godhead. God is revealed to be a tripartite being in Scriptures, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
We have previously looked at the three-fold relationship of God through the parable of speech. There is Yahweh (the Father), His breath (the Holy Spirit), and His word (the Son). The Scriptures proclaim the tri-part nature of God, but they also reveal a seven-fold character.
And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God…
And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
Some have correlated these seven Spirits of Yahweh to the following passage from Isaiah.
The Spirit of Yawheh will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of Yahweh.
- Spirit of Yahweh
- Spirit of Wisdom
- Spirit of Understanding
- Spirit of Counsel
- Spirit of Strength
- Spirit of Knowledge
- Spirit of the Fear of Yahweh
Because Yahweh formed mankind in His image, man conforms to this same pattern. The new man in Christ is a tripartite being. He consists of body, soul and spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Yahshua Christ.
The apostle Paul lists the three parts of man in the order of their intended ascendancy. The spirit is to rule over the soul and the soul over the body. These three parts of man can be further subdivided into seven parts forming a perfect parallel to the Feasts of Yahweh.
Body (Sensory life)
I have laid this framework in order to establish the concept of the earth also having a tertiary and septenary design. The earth is closely related to man, for Adam was formed of the dust of the earth. From dust man came, and to dust man shall return. In Yahweh’s plan of the ages, the earth will exist in three distinct forms.
The First Earth
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
After the creation of the first earth, but prior to the creation of Adam, Satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven with one third of the angels. At this event the first earth was destroyed. It was made formless, void, and covered in darkness until the time Yahweh moved to create the earth anew. We find the re-creation of the earth described in Genesis chapter one verses 3-31. This present earth is the second creation of the earth. It must pass away and be replaced by a third earth.
The Second Earth
II Peter 3:7, 10
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
There will then come a third and final creation of the earth.
The Third Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
Kenneth F. McKinley, in his book Scanning the Plan, breaks down the three creations of the earth into seven subsidiary states.
Before Satan’s fall. In the beginning… This is the earth of the dinosaurs. We are not told how long this earth existed before Satan rebelled and it was destroyed.
This is the earth after the fall of Satan. It is now formless and void and covered in darkness. The length in which the earth lay under this judgment is not known. Being sealed in darkness, this was likely a period in which the earth was covered in ice, corresponding with evidence of an ancient ice age.
This is the re-created earth as described in Genesis chapters one and two, before the fall of man. The earth is a paradise. There is no rain, but a mist arose from the ground to water the earth (Genesis 2:6). There is no sin or death.
This is the earth after Adam sinned. Sin and death has now entered the creation. The earth no longer gives forth abundantly. Man must cultivate it by the sweat of his brow.
This is the earth after the flood of Noah. It is an earth under human government. After the flood Yahweh shortened man’s life span from a thousand years to one hundred-twenty years (Genesis 6:3). This present state of the earth will continue until the millennial reign of Christ.
During this period Satan will be bound for a thousand years. Christ will reign upon the earth with His overcoming saints. Sin and death will still be present, but greatly mitigated.
There shall no more be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who dies prematurely; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner who dies when only a hundred years old shall be [thought only a child, cut off because he is] accursed.
Christ’s reign will transform the earth.
With righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
After a thousand years Satan will be loosed and war and judgment will fall once more. The present earth will be consumed with fire. Then will come the third and final creation of the earth, which will also be the seventh state of the earth.
There will be no sea on the new earth. Seas represent death, and death will be no more. These seven states of the earth conform to that septenary structure God has imprinted upon the creation.
When one correctly discerns the Biblical teaching of the earth and its ages, they will find that many of the conflicts that church has with science are removed. Yahweh is the author of both the Bible and the creation. There is no conflict between them when they are correctly understood.
There is much evidence that points to the earth being quite ancient. The Bible does not deny this. Those who have misapprehended the words of Genesis have supposed that the earth can be no older than six thousand years. They have not discerned that there exists a gap of ages between verses one and two of the first chapter of Genesis. This understanding is obscured by erroneous English translations of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. Men translate according to their understanding and beliefs, which are quite often faulty.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The most popular modern English translations render this passage similarly to the KJV Bible. The translation makes it sound like God created the earth formless and void, yet other Scriptures reveal that this is not true.
The phrase “And the earth was without form and void” should be properly rendered, “but the earth became formless and void.” The words in question are rendered correctly in other places in the first few chapters of Genesis. The translators knew they could be rendered this way, but it did not fit with their understanding, or the orthodoxy of the day. The word rendered in the KJV as “was” is the Hebrew word “hayah.” It is the same word used in Genesis 2:7, “Adam became a living soul.” Strong’s concordance defines the meaning of this word as “to become” or, “come to pass.” Similarly the word rendered “and” is the Hebrew “wa.” This word is a conjunction. The KJV translators rendered this word as “but” in the very next chapter, for in Genesis 2:6 we read, “but a mist used to…”
The translators could have rendered the first two verses of Genesis in the following manner:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But the earth became formless, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
By examining the testimony of other portions of Scripture we can discern that this is the correct interpretation of these verses. The following passage from Jeremiah provides a key to understanding. As you read it, note clearly the context of a judgment occurring due to the presence of sin and rebellion.
Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith Yahweh. Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people are foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of Yahweh, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath Yahweh said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. KJV
This passage is speaking of a judgment of Yahweh falling upon the earth due to rebellion and disobedience. As part of this judgment the land is made formless, void, and covered in darkness. These are the three same descriptive elements we find in Genesis 1:2. These words only occur in this combination in these two passages, and one other. The third instance is in Isaiah 34 where the destruction of Babylon is prophesied.
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
The words that were rendered as “formless” and “void” in the previous verses are rendered as “confusion” and “emptiness” in Isaiah. In the Hebrew the words are “tohu” and “bohu.” Seeing that both Jeremiah and Isaiah used these words to describe the appearance of the earth, or a portion of it, brought about by a judgment of God, we can reasonably conclude that a judgment of God precipitated the condition of the earth found in Genesis 1:2.
The Bible provides more evidence in support of this understanding. Isaiah tells us the following:
For thus says Yahweh, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited)…
Yahweh did not create the earth as a waste place, yet in Genesis 1:2 we find that it has become one. Let us look once more at the correct rendering of the first 2 verses of Genesis.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But the earth became formless, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
At the very beginning of the creation God made the heavens and the earth. He did not create them a waste. He created them perfect. Yet something occurred to mar their perfection. By looking at the language of verse two and comparing it to the rest of scripture we understand that it was due to a judgment of God that the earth was made formless, void and covered in darkness. The remainder of Genesis chapter one speaks of the re-creation of the earth, not its original creation.
What occurred on this original earth that caused Yahweh to judge it so completely? We are only given one event that could have caused such a judgment to be rendered. This event occurred prior to the creation of Adam. It was the rebellion of Satan.
Thus says Yahweh GOD, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you.”
Where did the judgment of Satan take place? We are told that God cast Satan “to the ground.” Yahweh turned Satan to ashes “on the earth.” The judgment of Satan took place on the earth, and the earth suffered judgment in his fall.
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.
The Scriptures reveal that the angels existed prior to man, and among the angels was a most magnificent cherub called Lucifer. He was created perfect in beauty and in wisdom, and his role among the angels was very exalted. Yet this being took his eyes off of his Creator and began to look at his own magnificence. This led to pride and the corrupting of his wisdom. Paul refers to Satan’s transgression in the following verse where he is speaking to Timothy about the qualifications for an elder:
I Timothy 3:6
and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
Satan’s fall began with the formation of conceit within his heart. Conceit led to rebellion, and ended in judgment. After an undisclosed period of time God began to re-create the earth. At this time Satan was released from his first imprisonment, even as he will be released at the end of Christ’s millennial reign. There is much more Biblical evidence to support the understanding that Yahweh was re-creating the earth in Genesis chapter one.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
The phrase “replenish the earth” means to fill it again. You can only replenish something that has been made empty. We speak of replenishing the supply of food in our cupboards when the cupboards have been emptied. Some of the translators of our common English Bibles have perceived that the word replenish infers that the earth was being re-filled. This thought is not in accord with the teaching of a large portion of the church. Therefore the translators in some instances chose to use the word “fill” instead of “replenish.” The original language supports the usage of the word replenish. The root word in the Hebrew is ‘male’ (mal – ay), which means to fill. However, the form of the word found in this passage, and in only a few other occurrences, express the idea of a replenishing, or refilling. We find this same word form used in Genesis 9:1 where God is speaking to Noah after the flood.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
We know that ‘replenish’ is the appropriate word to be used in this passage, for all but a remnant of living creatures perished in the flood of Noah’s day. Only eight descendants of Adam survived. They were instructed by Yahweh to replenish the earth which had formerly been populated. Noah’s sons and daughters were not filling the earth a first time. They were re-filling it. This same Hebrew word form is found in the following verse.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the waters in the seas…”
When we perceive that Yahweh was re-creating the earth in Genesis chapter one, we also discover that the earth’s creations and states also conform to a tertiary and septenary pattern. When we “rightly divide the word of God” we see that all fits according to the pattern Yahweh has established. When we fail to rightly divide the word of God, the pattern is broken.
This septenary structure is further observed in the opening chapters of Genesis in that Yahweh appointed six days for the creation of the earth, and on the seventh day He rested. The number seven is equated with rest. When the seventh state of the earth appears, it will be an earth at rest. The seventh and final state of the earth will have no seas. There will be no sin or death. Yahweh will no longer dwell in the heavens and man on earth. Yahweh will dwell among man.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea… And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
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