Returning to Torah — Part 6 — Does Torah Endorse Slavery?

An ambitious young Christian heads off to university ready to change the world. As he settles in to his first freshman sociology class, he is confronted with a seasoned professor who makes it clear from day one that he not only is antagonistic toward the Bible but also finds great satisfaction in dismantling and destroying the Christian faith.

After his opening rant about the absurdity of religion and the imbecilic nature of anyone who would believe such nonsense, the professor pulls out a Bible from his desk to prove his point. He turns to Exodus 21:20 and reads aloud with disdain for the text.

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

The professor looks up and then drives home the proverbial nail in the coffin.

“So for all you Bible believing Christians out there who claim that this is somehow the Word of God … tell me, how can you explain the indisputable fact that your “God” endorses the buying and selling and the beating of human slaves as property? Anyone? Anybody want to defend your God and your Bible now,” asks the professor as he tosses the Bible in the trash can. “I didn’t think so. I utterly reject your God and your Bible and any forward-thinking, intelligent person who wants to pass this class would be wise to do the same.”

The young Christian feels himself shrinking and sinking down into his seat, fighting back a flood of emotions welling up within him — confusion, anger, fear, and discouragement. The seed of doubt now firmly planted in his heart, the young student begins to question everything he has ever known and finding no adequate answers, he eventually abandons his faith altogether.

Unfortunately, such a scenario is all too common today, and I believe it is mostly due to the “church” neglecting the Scriptures for centuries and becoming ignorant of the foundational truths contained within the Torah.

Only by returning to God’s good instructions and eternal value system can we recover the true faith that was once and for all entrusted to the saints.

So does God and the Bible condone slavery? Let’s return to Torah to find out.

Context is Key

Before I answer this most important question, I must make a distinction and address a common misunderstanding surrounding the word “endorse.” When skeptics and opponents of the faith attack the Scriptures, they often will intentionally use language, such as, “the Bible endorses or promotes or condones or justifies slavery.”

But nothing could be further from the truth.

This why context is key. We cannot understand anything without proper context. One of the skeptic’s favorite tricks is to lift obscure verses right out of their original context and violate the meaning of the text. For example …

Any cursory reading of the Bible reveals that there is a significant difference in what the Bible generally describes and what God specifically prescribes or commands. There are plenty of social constructs and personal examples of gross misconduct mentioned in the Scripture that clearly do not qualify as condoned behavior. This is precisely why God revealed His law to begin with — as the standard of love and righteousness.

God never endorsed, justified, or promoted slavery, but knowing that social cast systems inevitably would be a part of human civilization, God provided good laws and righteous instructions to protect slaves, promote justice, and preserve basic human rights. These laws both are radically unique and morally superior in comparison to the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures and the pagan world at large.

The heart of Torah is to love God and love our neighbors, and all the laws pertaining to slavery in the Torah are put in place by God Himself to promote His values and His standards. Slavery was conceived out of the sinful desires for men to lord their power over others, yet God reveals the remedy by showing us how to redeem all human relationships — including between servants and their masters. Torah is rooted in loving and serving one another — not oppressing them — and bringing life to a broken system with equal protection and basic provision for both the slave and free man.

Furthermore, the very meaning of the Hebrew word used for “slave” — ebed — is more accurately translated “servant” within it’s original context. Our modern ears naturally recoil at the word slave and automatically associate it with the horrors of the North American and African slave trade. Biblical slavery did not even closely resemble this extreme example of chattel or plantation slavery, but rather is more accurately defined as voluntary indentured servitude.

Basically, when the Torah speaks of a “slave,” it is almost always referring to a debtor who cannot pay off his debt and therefore willingly and contractually sells himself as an indentured servant to work it off, much like working off a loan. There was no alternative recourse in the ancient world to pay off debt, so God made the very best of an imperfect situation and provided the very best option both for the individuals and the community at large. The boss/lender could still be financially compensated while the debtor/servant maintained his human dignity– being afforded the opportunity to regain his freedom and be elevated in society.

Once again, the Biblical context of slavery in no way resembled the egregious chattel or plantation slave trade that characterized colonial America for generations. As you will see, God’s word strictly forbid all forms of kidnapping, murder, rape, abuse, and mistreatment of anyone in His Kingdom, whether slave or free.

Quite the contrary. The Torah provides the only recourse in the ancient world that offers protection and human rights for the most vulnerable in society — such as the widows, the orphans, the divorced, the poor, the sick, the sojourner and the servant (aka slave).

Does Torah Endorse Slavery?

One may be surprised to discover that the Torah not only holds masters accountable to a higher standard, but also offers servants equal protection under the law. As I have already emphasized, the overwhelming majority of servants in the ancient Biblical context were voluntary indentured servants who entered into a legal contract to work off a debt and were given the same basic rights and privileges as free men. [*NOTE — On the rare occasion that God’s people took prisoners of war from nations outside the land, Israel was permitted to take the male captives as indentured servants or “vassal” subjects to subdue or thwart any threat of revolt or rebellion (see Deuteronomy 20), but even these servants were still treated with dignity and respect under the Torah.]

Just consider the following provisions and protections under Torah.

Equal Rest under the Sabbath

The Law of Moses commanded that servants, of whatever origin (Gentile or Hebrew), were to be treated as human beings who were part of the family household and covenant community. Unlike any other ANE society, the Law of Moses commanded that servants enjoy at least one day a week free from every kind of labour, participating in the Sabbath day of rest together with the same status as the free members of the community.

It was unheard of in the ancient world to give a slave a paid vacation day of rest, every week no less.

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates.

Exodus 20:10

But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest.

Deuteronomy 5:14

Equal Protection under the Law

The Torah is unique in offering servants the same rights as the rest of society.

  • Same law for applies to everyone.

One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” [Leviticus 15:16]

“You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.” [Leviticus 24:22]

  • Kidnapping and human trafficking (slave trading) are forbidden and punishable by death in the Torah.

Exodus 21:16 — “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 24:7 — “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.

  • Murdering (killing) a slave incurred the death penalty.

Exodus 21:12 — “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.” 

Exodus 21:20-21 — “Anyone who beats their male or female servant with a rod must be avenged if the slave dies as a direct result …” [the word avenged explicitly refers to the death penalty]

  • Servants automatically were released if they suffered physical abuse leading to permanent damage or harm.

Exodus 21:26-27 — “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. 27If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.

  • In the case of abuse, servants who escaped and fled from their master could not be forced to return and were considered free citizens to given protection and provided refuge in the community.

Deuteronomy 23:15-16 — “You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages he prefers; you must not oppress him.

Once again, the Torah made no provision for any involuntary slave trade. It was permissible to purchase men and women who voluntarily sold themselves into indentured service, but not to sell them (Exodus 21:2, Leviticus 25:39, 42, 45, Deuteronomy 15:12). Taking men and women and enslaving them against their will, or selling them into slavery, was expressly forbidden on pain of death (Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7).

Indentured servants could own property, get married, start a family, move and trade freely in the community, observe Sabbath, celebrate the Feasts [Exodus 12:46-50], participate in society, and ultimately regain their freedom.

If a fellow countryman, native citizen, or sojourner voluntarily sold himself into servitude, he would become a valued member of the master’s household, as it was to the master’s overall blessing and benefit to treat his servants well with dignity and respect. After 6 years of service, a servant would be given the option to stay with his master and basically be permanently grafted into the family or leave a free man much better off than he started.

“If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, 17then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And to your female servant you shall do the same. 18It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired worker he has served you six years. So the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.

Deuteronomy 15:12-18

Clearly God and His Torah in no way endorses, promotes, or condones human trafficking and slave trading — but on the contrary provides the very principles and laws that offer equal protection to servants and regard all people worthy of love and human rights as bearing the image of God.

By returning to Torah, we don’t see an archaic, oppressive legal system that permits slavery, but rather a progressive, radically unique value system that elevates slaves to equal citizens and provides them the opportunity to regain their freedom and elevate their social status in the broader community.

A Few Last Words

It is worth noting that Jesus and the Apostles fully agree with Torah that slave trading, kidnapping and human trafficking of any kind is forbidden, just in case their was any question.

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly9We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

[1 Timothy 1:8-10]

“Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed man; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.

[1 Corinthians 7:21-23]

Now let’s take one last look at our opening passage from Exodus 20:20-21.

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

Now that we understand the Biblical context of this verse, we can easily answer the hostile professor.

All that Exodus 21:21 is saying is that if a servant is beaten close to death (which is not God’s desire but only a potential description of what could happen), the master cannot receive the death penalty, but he risks incurring significant financial loss and criminal charges. The Torah puts the following provisions in place.

  1. Any slave trader that kidnapped and trafficked another human being was to be put to death.
  2. Any servant that was physically abused and permanently harmed was to be released as a free man.
  3. Any cruel master who beat or abused his slave was a considered a wicked man and guilty of violating the law.
  4. A good master loved and treated his servants with dignity and was obligated to eventually release the servant with an abundance of provisions and personal property.
  5. Any master who murdered his servant was to be put to death. Equal life for life.
  6. Any slave that escaped his master’s house was to be provided protection, provision and refuge und the Torah and could not be forced to return.

As you can see. Torah redeems the broken systems of this sinful world and breathes life into the oppressive structures of society until the Day that Christ returns and eradicates all sin, suffering, slavery, and sickness in the Kingdom to come!

In the Beginning … Session 8 — The Serpent

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

[Revelation 12:9]

Enter the Dragon.

We are introduced to the Prime Rebel, the Arch Enemy of God at the very beginning of the story.

Who is the mysterious serpent who entices Eve and usurps Adam’s authority on the earth, effectively leading mankind into ruin?

Why does it seem like the serpent was right where he was supposed to be in Eden, the garden of God –the holy mountain of the assembly?

What does the rebellion of Satan have to do with the collapse of the entire creation?

To discover answers to important questions like these and more … Feel free to explore Session 8 in my Genesis study.

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GOD of ISRAEL of GOD — Part 10 — Israel — A Kingdom Divided

Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. 31And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes 32(but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel).'”

[1 Kings 11:30-32]

Near the end of Solomon’s life, the LORD God pronounced a serious judgement against the king that would forever change the future of Israel and at the same time set into motion the most compelling display of love and redemption the world has ever known.

Showing total disregard for God’s commandments, King Solomon became spiritually compromised and corrupt, introducing all Israel to pagan idolatry and gross immorality (1 Kings 11:1-10). So severe was Solomon’s sin, the LORD swore to strip the Kingdom of Israel from the hands of his son and rightful heir to David’s throne — Rehoboam. Israel was ripe for rebellion and the very moment Solomon died (circa 932 B.C.), the kingdom quickly fractured into two distinct kingdoms/nations, or what commonly became known as the two houses of Israel.

Jeroboam — representing Ephraim — was given authority over the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom, which became known as the house of Israel (aka Joseph).

Rehoboam — representing the royal house of Judah/David — retained 2 tribes in the Southern Kingdom, which became known as the house of Judah (aka the Jews).

While the royal house of Judah retained control over the capital city Jerusalem and more importantly the administration of worship in the House of God, Jeroboam wasted no time in establishing his own capital in Samaria and creating a competitive religious system, which was at best a syncretic blend of pagan idolatry with a perverse form of the priesthood.

Although the LORD did prevent the two kingdoms — Judah and Israel — from escalating into all out civil war [1 Kings 12:21-24], they irreparably were broken. The Northern Kingdom of Israel would be subjected to an unbroken line of wicked kings and defined by generations of apostasy and idolatry, while the Kingdom of Judah would give rise to a only handful of righteous kings in David’s house and preserve a faithful remnant of God’s covenant people.

DEFINING OUR TERMS BIBLICALLY

“In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the LORD their God. 5They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’ 6“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.

[Jeremiah 50:4-6]

From the time the Kingdom of Israel was divided, the Biblical prophets were precise in how they communicated both to and about these two separate kingdoms, or houses. The Scriptures are replete with references specifically to the house of Israel — which also was identified with alternative nicknames such as Ephraim, Joseph, and sometimes Samaria. At the same time, the Bible clearly distinguishes Israel from the house of Judah, which exclusively represents the Jewish people.

In other words, a Jew is a person who distinctly can trace his ethnic descent from the tribe of Judah. This is most important in arriving at accurate Biblical terminology and concepts . While all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews! For example, Moses — a Levite — was not a Jew. Joshua was not a Jew but rather from the tribe of Ephraim. Only those who come from the house of Judah are Jews.

One of the most unfortunate errors in all of orthodoxy is to automatically conflate the terms Jews and Israelites, or Judah and Israel. The Bible makes a distinction between Judah and Israel, and we should too. Otherwise, one of the most important theological threads throughout Scripture will be lost.

For a more modern analogy, consider the United States of America. While every Texan is an American, not all Americans are Texans. There remains important distinction among the 50 states, while every state is still a part of the greater national commonwealth of America.

It is no different with the 12 Tribes of Israel. Judah is just one of the tribes of Israel and therefore does not represent the “whole house” of Israel. When the Scriptures speak of the whole house of Israel, or “all” Israel, it is referring to all 12 tribes. Therefore, the Jews do not represent all Israel but only a remnant.

THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL IS SCATTERED

The house of Israel (Ephraim) persisted in idolatry for 200 years after the split, and the LORD sent His prophets, such as Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Hosea, to desperately call Israel back to repentance. Sadly, Ephraim refused to come back to the LORD — her Husband — and pursued other gods instead, finally forcing the LORD to make a heartbreaking but necessary decision.

The God of Israel would divorce the Northern Kingdom, or the house of Israel [NOT JUDAHsee Hosea 1:6-7], and send her away in disgrace as a serial adulteress, removing her from her homeland and scattering her to the four winds of the earth, where the house of Israel (Ephraim) would become wanderers and exiles among the nations. The house of Israel effectively would cease to exist as a people and be absorbed by the Gentiles, while Judah would retain her ethnic identity up until this very day.

All their wickedness is in Gilgal,
For there I hated them.
Because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them from My house;
I will love them no more
.
All their princes are rebellious.

16Ephraim is stricken,
Their root is dried up;
They shall bear no fruit.

Yes, were they to bear children,
I would kill the darlings of their womb.

17My God will cast them away,
Because they did not obey Him;
And they shall be wanderers among the nations
.

[Hosea 9:15-17]

The division of the two houses — Israel and Judah — seemed to be irreversible because the house of Israel permanently was lost as a people — God’s people Israel were no longer His people and He was no longer their Husband. The original marriage covenant of Sinai tragically ended in divorce!

But at the very same time … God made a promise that He would not abandon and forsake the house of Israel forever, but would one day bring her back and remarry Israel in righteousness and faithful covenantal love.

Consider the words of the LORD through Hosea.

Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 

9Then God said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi,
For you are not My people,
And I will not be your God
.

10Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.

And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’

11Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head
;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!

[Hosea 1:8-11]

God’s promise of a future restoration and a new marriage contract with Israel, however, was virtually impossible. At least two seemingly immovable obstacles persisted.

  1. The house of Israel intermingled and intermarried with the Gentiles and practically became a mixed multitude and therefore indistinguishable from the Gentiles. Israel was assimilated culturally, genetically, spiritually, and geographically. Truly lost in the sense that Israel as a distinct people could no longer be identified.
  2. In the Torah, God forbid the remarriage of an adulterous wife who had been divorced, calling it an abomination (see Deuteronomy 24 and Romans 7). God cannot break His own commandment!

How could the LORD bring a lost people, a wayward wife back home, if divorced Israel could never come back to their God (Husband) according to the law?

There was only one way … the Bridegroom had to die to release His adulteress wife from the original marriage contract, freeing her to remarry again, and then the Bridegroom had to be raised from the dead legally as a new man and therefore free to remarry His original Bride — Israel — in a new and better covenant because it was purchased and ratified in the blood of the sinless Son of God and Sacrificial Lamb — Yeshua the Christ — the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (see Matthew 15:24).

To get more details about the Bridegroom God’s amazing love demonstrated Israel at the cross, be sure to read my last post in this series HERE.

THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES — MELO HAGOYIM

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

[Romans 11:25-27]

The Bridegroom was willing to die for His Bride to bring her back into covenant relationship, yet there still remained the undeniable fact that the house of Israel had dissolved into the nations and no longer could be identified as a people group. So how would God overcome this obstacle?

To find out, we must go all the way back to the patriarch Jacob (Israel) and discover God’s prophetic promise from the very beginning.

Just before Jacob died, he blessed Joseph’s two son, Manasseh and Ephraim, and he pronounced a fascinating prophecy over Ephraim, the younger son.

Then Jacob said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ 5And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

[Genesis 48:3-5]

Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15And he blessed Joseph, and said:

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He (Manasseh) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

[Genesis 48:14-16, 19]

Did you catch that?

God promised to make Jacob’s descendants into a “multitude” of nations, and Jacob specifically identified Ephraim as the one through whom this promise would be fulfilled! Obviously the house of Judah does not represent a “multitude of nations.” So how did the LORD accomplish this?

God expelled the house of Israel (Ephraim) from the land, dispersing the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob into the nations, where the seed of Israel would be mixed with the Gentiles, growing into multitude of nations! So through Israel’s rebellion and dispersion, God produced literal, genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel all over the world.

This is exactly what Paul meant by the phrase — the “fullness of the Gentiles.” Paul is directly quoting from Jacob’s own words in Genesis 48!

This Hebrew phrase found in Genesis 48:19 — מְלא גּוֺיִם — literally is translated the “fullness of the Gentiles.” This phrase comes from two Hebrew words — melo: fullness, that which fills + goyim: nations, peoples = Fullness of the Gentiles.

So by scattering the seed of Jacob into the nations, God exponentially multiplied his descendants for generations, and at the same time God promised to gather Israel back and restore her in the end! This is at the very heart of the gospel!

In my next post, we will delve even deeper to see the amazing contrast between how God used both the scattering of Ephraim to the nations and the preservation of the house of Judah to bring about the perfect plan of redemption and the establishment of a new marriage covenant in Messiah!

In the Beginning … Session 7 — Eden

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

[Genesis 2:7-8]

The Hebrew concept of Eden is described as the paradise of God, where heaven and earth intersect representing perfect beauty and harmony in Creation between God and man.

What we learn about the original Eden not only informs us about what was lost through man’s sinful rebellion, but more importantly what Jesus came to restore in the end.

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

[Revelation 21:2-3]

If you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most current content.

If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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In the Beginning … Session 6 — Adam

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

[1 Corinthians 15:45-49]

What does it mean to be human?

Is mankind mindlessly made in the image of monkeys or is man the crowning glory of God’s creation?

How does the incarnation of God the Son demonstrate the unique purpose and privilege of man in the eyes of God?

To discover answers to all of these questions and more, be sure to access all the digital resources to Session 6 below.

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In the Beginning … Session 5 — Six Days of Creation

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

[Exodus 20:11]

Did God used billions of years of natural evolutionary processes to “create” the universe, or was the creation a supernatural work of God that transpired over 6 literal, 24-hour days?

What observable, scientific evidence is available to us that supports a young earth?

What are the theological consequences of trying to reconcile evolution and vast ages of time with the Biblical account of creation in Genesis?

To discover the answers to these important questions and more, be sure to check out Session 5 in my Genesis study.

Be sure to download the free resources below and if you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most current content.

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In the Beginning … Session 4 — The Sons of God

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

[Job 2:1]

Traditional Christianity has often presented an incomplete perspective of the heavenly realm and the beings that occupy that realm. Unfortunately, the term “angel” has become a catch-all to describe any being other than God, and yet the Biblical testimony is much more complex and nuanced when it comes to identifying the heavenly hosts.

For starters, the Bible speaks of these heavenly beings in many different ways to describe both their nature and function. They are called the host of heaven, watchers, angels, princes, gods, cosmic powers, rulers, and authorities who occupy thrones, dominions and principalities in the heavenly places [Ephesians 6:12].

And perhaps one of the most overlooked and misunderstood title of all is what the Hebrew Scriptures call the “sons of God,” or the bene ha’ Elohim. Once we comprehend the true identity of the heavenly sons of God, we are able to appreciate what it means for the sons of Adam to be given the right to become sons of God. Just in case you are wondering, it has everything to do with the Person and redemptive work of “the” Unique and Only Son of God — Yeshua the Messiah.

Discover what the Bible says about this divine class of heavenly beings and why it matters in God’s cosmic plan of redemption.

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If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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In the Beginning … Session 3 — The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

[John 1:1-3]

One of the most essential doctrines of the true faith is the affirmation of the deity of Jesus Christ as God the Son and the very Creator of the universe. Jesus is no ordinary man. He is God with us … Immanuel. And the Scriptures are clear that Jesus is both Creator and Savior of the world. He is eternal and immortal and all-powerful and omniscient, and yet Jesus humbled Himself and entered into His own creation by permanently taking on human form and suffering unto death on a cross.

I give the Son of God an entire session in this series to establish Him as the “Unique” and supreme Son of God – the uncreated King and Creator of all things visible and invisible. This will be essential to understanding the Biblical identity of other “sons of God” and heavenly beings mentioned in Scripture.

Be sure to download the free resources below and if you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most current content.

If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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In the Beginning… Session 2 — Intelligent Design

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

[Psalm 139:13-16]

For the skeptic who rejects the idea of a supreme Being responsible for the creation of the universe, it is often unproductive to begin with the God of the Bible. However, if there is enough observable evidence in the world around us to validate an Intelligent mind behind the intricate and complex design built into the very fabric of our reality, then we can bring skeptics one step closer to acknowledging the necessity for a Creator.

In Session 2 — Intelligent Design — you will discover some of the most foundational arguments for the existence of God, such as the Cosmological, Teleological, Anthropological, and Information theories. God has not left Himself without a witness to His glory in creation.

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  • Due to technical problems, unfortunately we do not have the MP3 audio teaching for Session 2.

In the Beginning — Session 1 — GOD

Remember the former things of old;

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

10declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose,

[Isaiah 46;9-10]

In the Beginning … God.

Should we presume in the existence of God? Or can God be explained away?

The existence of God is both necessary and certain to make sense of the world around us, to define reality, to discover our true origin, to understand the purpose of our existence, to explain the immense and immeasurable wonder and glory of the universe, to pursue our eternal destiny knowing that we all must stand before the Most High God who made all things and knows all things and to whom we must one day give account.

Is there enough “evidence” to believe in the existence of God? Much less the God of the Bible?

More than you could ever know. God has revealed Himself in so many ways, not the least of which by coming in physical form as Immanuel — God with us. Yet God also reveals Himself through logic and conscience and history and archaeology and prophecy and morality and geology and astronomy and quantum mechanics and information science and genetics and the list goes on.

But logic, reason and science can only take us so far. At some point we must exercise faith in the Invisible God. After all, without faith it is impossible to please God. Not only has God provided endless evidence for His existence, but He has purposefully revealed Himself to mankind and personally invited us into a relationship through faith in the good news of God’s Son. Creation may be able to reveal to us that there is a “God.” Scripture, however, is necessary to know precisely who God is. And Yeshua — the Word made flesh — shows us what God is like in all of His grace and glory!

Be sure to download the free resources below and if you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most current content.

If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF FOR SESSION 1 — GOD

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