Course: The Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)
The Presence of Sin Part 1
All of the ideas and principles conveyed by the instructor in this course are not necessarily held by the Blue Letter Bible ministry.
The subject is sin. Does anyone have any familiarity with the subject?
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, we thank You for this new day. With Your mercies ever present, ever sustaining us, ever bringing us the blessings of Your presence and attributes, we know that You will never leave us nor forsake us. You are here in our midst. You dwell in our hearts. And we’re so delighted to be able to come and open Your word and study these great doctrines of salvation. Teach us, Lord, we pray. Most of all help us to be teachable. We thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genesis chapter three, we might as well start at the beginning, huh? Part of the reason why the doctrine of salvation has lost a lot of its impact upon this culture is the refusal, either by neglect or by deliberate purpose, to deal with sin and depravity. Apparently people are not into negativism today. They’re into positivism. So they don’t want to hear how bad we are. They want to hear about how good we can be.
But really the doctrine of salvation cannot be taught properly without the doctrine of sin. A simple statement should help here. If there’s no sin then why do we need a Savior? The reason Jesus died was for our sins.
Now in Genesis three [Gen 3], that’s where it all started. So let’s take a look at it.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. [That shows he’s not eternal. God made him.] And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman, He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam, He said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all of the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also, and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:1-24 KJV)
Well, that’s quite a story. Believest thou this? You know when everybody tries to tell this story and they don’t have a heart for God, they always make it mythology. That is very interesting to me, because it is true that in most religious systems of the ancient world there is a mythological story like this.
On the island of Crete at the Minoan civilization where you have beautiful paintings in multi-colors going back almost 5,000 years and you still can look at them. They are gorgeous! There’s a story of the serpent deceiving a woman who has a fruit in her hand. Imagine that!
When I was in the tombs of the Pharaohs down at Luxor, the city of the dead, and visiting those famous tombs down there, Ramesses, Tutankhamon, where they found all the treasuries; and as you go down into these tombs you see again, these gorgeous paintings from the ancient world going back three or four thousand years. And here lo and behold, in all this Egyptian paganism, you see the serpent and the story that’s in Genesis chapter three!
Like the Flood story, which actually occurs in over two hundred mythological writings from ancient religions, so also we have the story of the garden, the woman, the fruit, the serpent deceiving them, in all these pagan religious systems. Now rather than thinking the Bible is a mythological story, there is another possibility: that there actually was a garden with a fruit, and a man and a woman who was deceived by a serpent. So, it’s just like the Flood. With all these stories, they say, well there’re all kinds of flood stories that come in mythological literature. Well, isn’t one possibility the reason we have so many of those stories is because it actually happened? This story actually happened.
Some believe in Iraq you can go visit the ancient site of the Garden of Eden. But it is extremely disappointing. Eden means “delight” and it’s no delight at all. It’s depressing! But this story occurred. This is not fantasy; this is not mythological literature. This is the answer of the human dilemma, the sin nature that came from Adam.
Anyway, it’s interesting to hear discussions on how we solve problems. What’s going on in the world? Why do people do what they do? You know, it’s interesting just to listen to human wisdom. They can’t get anywhere. There really isn’t any explanation. You know that? There really isn’t, except one. The possibility that not one of them wants to admit is that you and I have a sin nature that came from Adam. That we are not sinners because we sin; we are sinning because we already are sinners. You don’t become a sinner. You are born a sinner. And that’s a part of our whole problem. And even Christians who read this story, they’re not exactly sure of what to think of the nature of Adam and Eve after the Fall.
Let me explain. The one book in the New Testament that really goes over all the doctrines of salvation, what is it? Romans! Absolutely—constitutional Christianity! Isn’t it interesting that he spends three of the opening chapters dealing with why we’re all condemned before God; why we’re without excuse? And then even in the midst of telling us about how God has declared us to be righteous because of what Jesus has done, he takes out a break in chapter five and shows us the relationship of what happened in the Garden, to what happened when Christ died, and shows us the difference between depravity and being justified by faith, and that there’s a connection. What’s the connection? Let’s turn to Romans 5 and look at verses 12 to 21 [Rom 5:12-21] . A New Testament commentary on what we just read in Genesis 3.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, [Boy, that’s pretty clear right there, isn’t it?] and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 For until the law [Which didn’t come ‘til Moses.] sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed [put to one’s account] when there is no law.
That’s interesting. So you say, “Oh, well then they got away with murder.” Case of Abel—excuse the pun, but Cain killing Abel—the first murder. They got away with it because there was no law. No, there was moral justice. A mark put on Cain; vengeance coming by God, etc. But the fact of it is, “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
Now we would expect therefore, that if there ever was a period of time in which people wouldn’t believe they were sinners, it would certainly be before the law, when they ever had evidence of what sin was. But as this passage is going to tell you, it doesn’t make any difference whether they understood it or not, people still died.
I read the opening genealogies of Genesis 5 and 10 and it says, “and he died” over and over again. “And he died.” Everybody dies, which is another interesting question dealing with a question of why do things happen. Why do people die? I don’t know if you’ve really studied the evolutionary argument, but you see man has not quite evolved to the point that he can overcome this problem. You see, he is sort of an imperfect, but better-functioning animal than the ones he came from. And as a result of this, it’s not quite perfected yet and there’re still some problems when this animal body of ours runs down.
Now one of the problems in evolution is that there are some animal life that live longer than man. That’s very disturbing because that should not be at all, wouldn’t you say? Yeah. Of course there is another explanation, isn’t there? Always is another explanation. What is it?—that we’re sinners!
I got a letter from a fellow who heard me preach. And he said that I was very negative. He said, “You keep insisting that people are depraved.” He said, “The people I know are really wonderful people.” And he’s going to continue to wear those rose-colored glasses, I’m sure. But a lot of us do not want to be honest with what God says. We want to create something else. As a matter of fact, it’s so subtle that you yourself are so depraved that you will think you are not. You will think that you are better than what other folks think you are or what God knows you to be. You will try to put others down and make them think they are not as good as they think they are, so in fact, it makes you look better. The subtleties of depravity are incredible.
Romans 5 tells us the truth. In verse 14 [Rom 5:14] it says, no matter what you think about what happened from Adam to Moses, it says, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, [Everybody was still dying.] even over them that had not sinned after the similitude [or likeness] of Adam’s transgression.”
Let me ask you a question. Do you think there is a variety among the sins committed by the human race? Yeah, not everybody is a rapist. Not everybody is an adulterer. Not everybody is a murderer. That’s why in the list of sins that tell you, you will not inherit the kingdom of God, it names a bunch of them and then says, “And such like.” Just in case I didn’t name yours, God throws them all in and reminds you you’ve got the capacity to do a lot of terrible things.
So it is interesting isn’t it, that there are people who didn’t sin exactly the way Adam did but still suffer as a result of what he did by dying. And people say, “I don’t like that. That’s not fair.” Really? Well, it doesn’t seem very fair either, that one person should die and many would be set free. That’s not fair either. Shouldn’t every man have to pay for what he himself has done? But we don’t like that side of it. See what we’d like to say is that “It’s not fair that I suffer because of something Adam did.” Well, is it fair that you have redemption and blessing in heaven in eternal life because of what one man did? No, that’s not fair either!
See, God’s program, by the way, is not built on fairness. Boy, you’d better be thankful; we’d all be in hell if it was. But let’s keep reading. By the way, the end of verse 14 [Rom 5:14] tells you. I’m not making this up. It says, “Adam, who is the figure [the type] of him that was to come.” Adam and Christ—Adam is called the first man in 1 Corinthians 15, Christ is called the last Adam. Now He wasn’t the last man to be born on the earth, but He was last in some sense, in terms of God’s program of salvation.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, [which is true] much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
That’s what you call reverse comparison. One sin brings condemnation. In the case of our salvation, many offenses were matched by one substitution to bring justification and life. So it’s like double jeopardy on the second one. It doesn’t say, “By one man’s sin, condemnation. By one man’s righteousness, we who are righteous become righteous or stay righteous.” He didn’t say that. He says, “No, we’ve got so much sin because of the first problem, but the death of Christ is so powerful it took care of all of that and brought us life.”
So, you want to talk fairness. Hey, there’s no fairness on the other side because the truth of the matter is, all of us do sin and prove that we deserve what God said we’re going to get, because of Adam’s sin. You say, “I don’t think it’s fair that Adam knew that and now I suffer.” Okay, let’s just have you suffer for what you do.
You see, it doesn’t make any difference either way. The truth of the matter is that death reigned from Adam to Moses. We can’t do anything about it. The wages of sin is death, if you don’t come to Christ.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; [Which is true, all men die.] much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, [How can you get anything more clear on the Fall?] so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound…
You might ask, “Well, if all are already sinning and already dying, then why give the law? It sounds like you’re piling it on to just really tell them why they’re so bad.” And the answer is: “Right! That’s why God did that.” So there wouldn’t be any doubt in your mind why you deserve hell. And that law, that condemns you and me, that shows us what the standards of God are and how we violate it all the time, that law was also a schoolmaster, a tutor to bring us to the solution, Jesus Christ. Because in that same law it tells you what to do when you offend it, you’re to bring a sacrifice. And all those sacrifices of all those animals are preparing our hearts to understand how that “Jesus is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Fantastic when you think about!
20 But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
By the way, the key word in Romans chapter six is sin, the very next chapter. And it’s interesting because the whole argument here is on justification and how God saved us. But yet, in that argument is all of this material about why we’re sinners. Three opening chapters, big section in chapter five, practically all of chapter six, all telling us that the problem of the human race, the problem with you and me is not that you have a difficult schedule today. The problem with you and me is not that the weather is bad. The problem with you and me is not that we live in the country we do, or speak the language that we do. The problem is sin! It always has been. It still is.
Now class, if our American evangelical Christians really understood that, then they would stop doing what they’re doing. And that’s coming up with other programs to handle sin. Did everybody hear that? Do you realize what’s happened in my lifetime? We have seen an erosion of the truth related to the doctrines of salvation. And we have seen in their place a substitution of man-made programs and man-made wisdom as to how we can solve the major problems of our life. Our problem is sin. Always has been.
And what can wash away my sin? Twelve-step recovery program of course! These thirty-six things I do. And you know, I’m sure there is some good counsel, good advice and all of it. But folks, there’s only one way to take care of your sin. And that’s by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Oh by the way, you’re going to have to confess your sin. “Well, why do I have to confess it? God already knows my sin.” Oh, because you need it. God doesn’t need it. You need it. When His Son died on the cross, He paid for all sin, so it’s kind of foolish for you not to since it’s already taken care of.
This is a whole interesting subject, isn’t it? And I want to ask you the question: How sinful do you think you are? How sinful do you really think you are? I’ve had people, they hear this and they just absolutely hate my guts. They think, “Oh, there must be another interpretation.” Hey, I wish there were another interpretation. It’s so obvious a child can read it. And we’re going to look at that. And it’s going to be awesome. And you’re going to have to sit here and say, “Man, you know what? Apart from the death of Jesus Christ, there isn’t one shred of hope in my life.” Whoooa! What a new revelation!
But you see, the doctrine of sin and depravity is what actually brings you to kneel at the cross and cry your blooming heart out, being so grateful for the simple grace that’s in our Lord. He saved you, not because of anything in you; there wasn’t anything in you worth saving. But you see, in Christ, you can be a brand new creature. Now, you’re worth something. You can be a partaker of the divine nature.
You can have a new nature in Jesus Christ. But that old one, we aren’t going to just reform it, okay? We aren’t asking you to turn over a new leaf or as often guys say to me, “I’m going to try to be better, man.” You’re going to try to be better. Lots of luck! I mean, you aren’t going to make it. We don’t want you to try to be better. We want you to trust in the Lord. We want you to see what He can do in your life. Because all of that programming yourself to somehow be good, one day you’re going to collapse under the right provocation or pressure. You’re going to collapse. It will not stand. Legalism never stands in a crisis. It has nothing. It can’t do anything for the heart.
You put up all these parameters, all these restrictions, all these barriers, all these boundaries. You think you’re going to protect yourself. Huh-uh! The devil is brilliant in his strategies. He knows how to strip you of all your self-protectionism and show you the depravity of your heart and make you so depressed, so discouraged you say, “There isn’t any hope. And I’m nothing but a worm and I’m dust.” And you want somebody to give you some strokes, but the truth of the matter is—that’s what you are! But now that I’ve said all of that here’s what you could be if you would come to Jesus Christ. I love to talk about the true gospel. The true gospel is what really sets people free. And this is so important.
Yesterday a man came into my office, a medical doctor. But he had something he wanted to share. He sat down. He had gotten a hold of a set of tapes, called The Essentials of Salvation that I have done, that deal with these doctrines. He’s now retired about seventy years old. He said, “I’ve been a church member all my life and what you taught on the doctrine of salvation showed me very clearly that I was not saved. The first thing that I felt was anger toward you.”
And he said, “I just couldn’t stand it, but I realized it was the truth of the Word of God. And I realize I’ve been listening to a false, syrupy, man-oriented doctrine of salvation all my life and I never saw the heart of this matter. I want you to know that at the end of your tape, I turned that baby off. My tears were coming down my face and I said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ For the first time in my life, I understood why Jesus died for me. I want you to know that I’m going to be seventy years old, but as long as I live, I’m going to tell folks about the true gospel.”
Well that was all I needed. I said, “Could I have your permission to talk about this illustration?” He said, “Oh yeah. Two of my older friends, I’ve just shared your tape with and both of them also received Christ and they’ve been leaders in their denominational church for over forty years.”
Listen people, you can almost say everything is sort of good. You know, it’s just sort of right. It’s just sort of okay. And you can tolerate it and not realizing that it’s undermining the very basis of what the true gospel is all about. People need to be saved—you know that—really saved! Not by their own efforts or even by their “decision” to receive to Christ. The only thing that will save you is the Lord Jesus Christ dying for your sins. It’s the only thing that will save you. It’s the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin. And I pray that you will never forget it. If you get nothing else out of this course, you’ll never forget it as long as you live.
Well, let’s back up and take a look at this awesome thing called depravity, the Fall and sin. When you say, “What is the origin of the Fall? How did it happen?” This becomes a very serious doctrine that Calvinists and Arminians fight over and they get all wrapped up in it. But you know something? The Bible is just really refreshing. In the midst of all those arguments, I just want to deal with two of the major tenants of disagreement. One deals with Satan’s role; the other deals with Adam and Eve’s role. Okay?
Now let’s start with Satan. What was the role of Satan in this whole thing? In 1 John 3:8, it says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil. For the devil sinneth from the beginning.” 1 John 3:8 tells me, “The devil sinneth from the beginning.”
John 8:44. Jesus is addressing Jewish leadership who are definitely questioning His right and His authority. But He said to them, “Ye are of your father the devil. The lusts of your father ye will do.” Now that’s interesting because as the old serpent, it means he doesn’t really come up with much that’s new. There isn’t any new immorality. It’s just the old immorality. You could talk about how something is politically correct all you want. Sin is sin. It has never changed one bit.
A few of you here, heard me last Wednesday night, I was on Exodus 20, on the Ten Commandments. And one of the things I made the audience do was to repeat them—memorize them. We used to have them posted in our school classrooms. We had to memorize them in public schools. And you know it’s interesting, the affect upon that.
So anyway, a man stopped by my office and he said, “I want five more of those tapes. I bought five. I gave them to my buddies and now everybody’s quoting the Ten Commandments. Will you please give me five more of those?” He said, “I tell you man, it’s changing my life!”
“The Ten Commandments? Oh, you mean there isn’t anything wrong with God’s Law. Oh you mean it is holy and spiritual and righteous and good.”
“Well, we’re not under law, but under grace.”
That’s talking about the means of salvation. It’s interesting how we can take something out of context and say we’re free to do whatever we want to do. No, you’re not. You’re free to obey God. But the impact of that is incredible.
Here we have devil, what does he do? “He deceiveth the whole world,” the Bible says. He was cast out into the earth. His angels were cast out with him. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now has come salvation and strength. And the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down [Listen to this.] which accused them before our God day and night’” (Revelation 12:9-10).
Now, I had a guy at a recent men’s retreat. He had on a shirt that said, “The devil made me do it.” I came up to him and I said, “That’s an interesting shirt.”
He said, “Yeah, it really helps me, man, to walk with God. You know, just to know the devil…”
I said, “Well, it’s a lie. The father of lies got you to buy his shirt.”
He about turned white; “What are you talking about?”
I said, “The devil didn’t make you do that at all. You sin because you want to sin. James 1:13-15 says so.” Funniest thing—that guy just took his shirt right off. He said, “I’m not wearing it any more.” He threw it down. He had tattoos all over his arms. I loved it!
But see, the doctrine that the devil is ubiquitous is a lie. Meaning omnipresent, he is not everywhere at once. So, he couldn’t be honoring you by working on you today. He’s got too much to do in heaven. He’s in heaven? Oh yeah. He’s accusing. Can he come to earth? Yes, he can. He has access both ways. Well, why is he up there? Oh cause he’s accusing you. You’re a believer? Well, the devil’s up there prosecuting you every day in front of God (Revelation 12:10). Now don’t panic, because we’ve got a defense attorney up there. The Advocate, Jesus Christ. Amen? So don’t worry about it at all. That’s why it says in verse 11, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Two passages, class, have become what we call “the troublesome issues” over the doctrine of Satan’s involvement in the Fall. But I want you to know what two chapters those are. Isaiah 14, and just multiply by two, Ezekiel 28. In each of those chapters, there is a historical situation, a historical ruler who becomes a type of Satan. In Isaiah chapter 14 it is Babylon, the king of Babylon, that’s verse four [Isa 14:4]. “Take up this proverb against the king of Babylon.” In Ezekiel 28, it is the prince of Tyre
So, these are two historical types. In these we learn that the king of Babylon, or the prince of Tyre, cannot possibly fulfill the details of what the prophecy actually says. They cannot! And that’s why we learn what we see in a lot of passages in the Bible, that in prophecy there’s a near and a far interpretation. There is a historical issue of what actually happens. And then it creates the atmosphere for a future issue.
For an example in Daniel, we have a discussion of the break-up of Alexander the Great’s empire, between the Ptolemies, who ruled in Egypt and the Seleucids who ruled through Israel, Syria. They’re both fighting over the land of Israel and it discusses that and brings you down to the time of the Maccabean Revolt. The leader was Antiochus Epiphanes that you’ve heard about. And he desecrated the temple that was sort of a rebuilt, not very attractive one, after the Babylonian captivity, those who came back under Ezra and Nehemiah and Joshua and Zerubbabel. But anyway, he desecrated it by sacrificing a pig on the altar and the Maccabeans cleansed that with a tremendous revolt. That’s where we get the celebration of Hanukkah, which is mentioned also in the Bible in the Gospel of John 10:22.
We know by what we read in the words of Antiochus Epiphanes, what it says about him, plus what it says in earlier chapters of Daniel about “a little horn,” about this “leader of a ten-nation confederacy.” We know that it’s a historical type of the antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes. It’s so strong that there are Bible teachers who believe that he will actually come back to life, the same guy!
So there are lots of examples of this in the Old Testament. There’s a historical situation and from that is a teaching regarding a future prophecy. That’s what you have here in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Now some people believe that Satan isn’t even in this discussion. And they believe they are taking it literally.
Let’s take a look at it, Isaiah 14 first. All of this from verse 4 [Isa 14:4] on is a part of the proverb against the king of Babylon. For instance, verse 11 [Isa 14:11]. “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave.” Very graphic things; but look at verse 12 [Isa 14:12]. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer.”
Now, there’s another problem. Some say that this Hebrew word, which means “daystar” or “shining star” has the idea of the Shining One, referring to the Messiah. Believe it or not, the New International Version translators took that view. They actually, in their notes on their translation, assert the possibility of this being Jesus here. His coming into the world would be His falling to the earth, etc., etc. I think it’s close to blasphemy myself, but I see it. I understand. But it bothers me. I have to tell you. So, I am not going to spend any time developing their view. Amen?
Okay. [Isa 14:12-15]
12 …Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weakened the nations. [I don’t believe that was ever said of our Lord.]
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: [Remember stars in the Old Testament refer to angels.] I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High. [What did he say in the Garden of Eden to Eve? God knows the day that you eat of it you will be like? God.]
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit…
…and so on and so forth. And it is referring to Babylon, the king of Babylon.
Some say this is the prophecy about Nebuchadnezzar’s fall. It is the historical setting, but it just doesn’t match all the things. In fact, go over to Ezekiel 28. Let me show you some real difficult things if you try to just say this is a historical situation. In Ezekiel 28, about the king of Tyre, verse 2 [Eze 28:2]. “Your heart is lifted up. You have said, I am a god. I sit in the seat of God. Yet thou art a man and not God.” It talks about with wisdom how you’ve involved yourself in wealth and sin and so forth. It’s quite a passage.
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation [a mourning, a woeful saying] upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in [what?] Eden the garden of God; [Boy, I can tell you the king of Tyrus wasn’t there.] every precious stone was thy covering, the sardis, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast [what?] created.
Where does the doctrine come from that the devil was created by God? Ezekiel 28:13.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub [Where does the doctrine come from that is one of the cherubim angels? Ezekiel 28:14.] and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, [Now watch in this.] till iniquity was found in thee.
Anyone who says the iniquity was found in God as the author of it had better read their Bible again. The iniquity with the presence of sin, when was it first introduced? Answer: in the heart of Satan…in the heart of Satan.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
That is going to happen in the future, but a lot of people think it already has. And there’s no way has that happened.
Now go back to Genesis 1:1-2. It says, “In the beginning.” I love this. Don’t you love this verse? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I feel like saying, “case closed.” Now it says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.”
At the turn of the twentieth century, going from the nineteenth to twentieth, we were really bombarded at a particular period of time where America was quite prosperous. It’s described in history books as the Industrial Revolution. Factories, progress, inventions were just pouring out of America like crazy. All of this, of course, came to a crashing halt at World War I, at approximately our entrance in there, about 1914 to 1918. Now, during those early years, in the midst of all this prosperity and growth, there was a lot of psychology developing. That which we’re suffering from in this twentieth century was happening then. A lot of it came from Europe. The Sigmund Freuds and so forth, and there was a lot of interest in this. It kind of went along with the prosperity.
You’ve probably heard about the gay nineties, 1890s. And it wasn’t referring to homosexuality, but party time and just prosperity and everything. There seemed to be no limit to resources, no limit to what Americans could do. It was an interesting period of time. And during that time, is when evolution hit. I mean, like a bomb. If you want to know about this, you can go to some old book stores and buy books like by Harry Rimmer. And he was one of the first to really spot all of this happening, and really attacked it in his day. What happened was the Christians were totally unprepared for this. They saw it as sort of a radical, philosophical argument of a few European hermits. And they never saw that this was going to be a major strategy of the enemy to hit America; they never saw it.
So when it began to become more popular, talking about survival of the fittest and missing links and all that, boy, you think we have stuff like that now, you should go back and just look at a microfilm of all the newspapers in that period of time. And eventually it led to Scope’s trial in the twenties and thirties and all that kind of stuff. But anyway, it was just coming like gangbusters. Well, a lot of Christian Bible teachers were hustling around to give an explanation for all of these supposed bone structures out of paleontology work that had, in the strata of the earth, proven to be larger animals than had previously thought. Some of these skeletons were put in our museums and people would go see them and they would talk about this grotesque period of time.
Interesting in the early days of the movie industry, twenties, thirties, forties, they were picturing this quite often. They had movies that showed cave men and giant animals that sort of looked like Rodan and Godzilla. It was about all they could picture; they saw all of this. And what we don’t see now, that I’m trying to get you to see and help you understand, is that the Bible teachers and preachers of America were having a hard time dealing with this. It looked like evidence! Today we are much more knowledgeable of all of that and what they actually did. But the evidence was just bombarding us from all over the world. People were asking, how do you explain this? And is this really true?
And so some schools, in attempting to be cool, and they called themselves Christians, developed first of all, what they called a “double revelation theory,” that there’s a revelation of God in the Bible and there’s one in the universe. Well, there is a revelation of God in the universe. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). But they confused it. This gave them the ability to have a science department that could teach evolution and yet have a Bible department teaching something else; because there are two sources of revelation. That was one way they handled it. The most popular way it was handled and still is being handled in the same way by many Bible teachers today, is what we call the Gap Theory. And the reason why we’ve mentioned it is because that’s where we are here in our study about the doctrine of salvation and sin and how it came into the world.
Here’s the way the gap theory goes. Ezekiel talks about the time when God will cast the devil out of heaven. Iniquity was found in him and he was cast down to the ground and then all hell breaks out. They say that verse 2, of Genesis 1 [Gen 1:2], “And the earth was without form and void” describes a chaotic condition that produced grotesque animals, cave men, and all of that—a set back from God’s beautiful world of verse 1—and it was a chaotic condition caused by the fall of Satan. They take the word “darkness” to be a metaphor for evil, even though it clearly in this passage means night, verse 5 [Gen 1:5] says. Darkness is used for evil in the Bible, but not here. And so, it’s interesting, this is how it developed. And that became the dominate answer to evolution. And the gap theory was taught. So it’s very, very interesting!
Just one problem…it’s wrong! And you know something, I’m really thankful it’s wrong. I’m thankful I don’t have to go to such gymnastics hermeneutically and interpretatively wise; I don’t have to do that in order to deal with my Bible. The words “without form and void,” tohuw and bohuw in Hebrew, are referring to a waste, an uninhabited condition. The truth of the matter is you can take the Genesis account literally, which is what everybody said was impossible. You can take it literally; it was uninhabited. All it was is a globe.
Now, you know why they wanted it to be something more than that?—because of day four. In day four we have the sun, moon, and stars. And you know what they said? God could not have made them on the fourth day, because He had vegetation on the third day and vegetation needs light, completely ignoring the fact that there was light. God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” You see, some people thought that we needed the sun, moon, and stars in order to have light. So they believed that the light just appeared. But no, He uses the word “appear” when He says the dry land appeared. But He doesn’t use it when He said He made the sun, moon, and stars. It says, “He made them.” See, I have no problem with that, because we don’t need the sun, moon and stars to have light. As a matter of fact, to prove that point, God’s not going to have the sun, moon and stars in eternity. Read it in Revelation 21:23, the Lord God and His Lamb will be all the light we need.
You see, God diffused light in the whole system of the universe. By the way, He created darkness also. Isaiah 45:7 says, “I created darkness.”
And people say, “Oh that means sin. He created evil.”
No. No, He created darkness.
“Well, how do you have darkness?”
God said, “Let’s have darkness.” People have not gotten this in their head yet. They want to limit God. They want to rationally explain all of these things but you can’t. “In the beginning God….” Case closed.
And the earth had not yet been designed beautifully as it was in the six days. For the Bible says, “In the six days, the Lord God created everything that is in heaven and earth.” He didn’t say He did it just before He started the six days. And then it became chaotic. He didn’t say that at all.
So I don’t need geological ages of time in the days of Genesis. I think they’re twenty-four hour days. And if you want to know my reasons for that, as well as all the reasons for the long day theory, you can read my book, Rise and Fall of Civilization. It’s on Genesis 1 to 9 and all those views are presented for you.
I’m simply saying here that Satan did not fall geographically; he fell morally. Listen to me carefully, class. You and I both know that when we speak of the Fall of man, we are talking about a moral fall, a moral depravity not geographical. And that is also true from the enemy’s sake.
Now before we take our break, go to 1 Timothy, in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 3:6 tells us not to use new converts in leadership. Why? “Lest being lifted up with [what?] pride, he falleth into the condemnation of the devil.” Verse 7 says, “Lest he fall into reproach and the snare [or trap] of the devil.” Class, what is the condemnation, snare, trap, reproach of the devil? What is it? Pride! What is the first thing the Lord hates? Pride! Do you understand? What was the first sin? Pride, in the devil! When he appealed to Eve, he said, “You eat of this and you will be like God.” And the devil’s strategy has been the same ever since. He continues to sin says 1 John 3:8, exactly like he did at the beginning. How did he sin at the beginning? Pride!
You see, the number one way the devil is going to work on you is through pride. He’s going to attract, allure, bait, deceive you and he’s going to make you proud. You’re going to be proud of what you can become. And that in itself is the devil’s track to get you to forget that you are lost, depraved, sinful, and desperately in need of a Savior.
Father, we thank You for Your Word. And we pray that You’d keep us clear in our thinking. And careful as we look at the verses in the Bible that we might truly have a doctrine of sin that represents Your truth, Lord. That we wouldn’t get side-tracked, confused, or go to human methodology to solve our problems. That we’d see that our basic problem is sin. That we must confess our sins, knowing that: “You’re faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We thank You, Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.