Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 51

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Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 51

(Key verses: Gen 10:21-31; Gen 11:10-28; 1Ch 1:17-27)

[Study Aired June 19, 2014]

The spiritual meaning of the number three in Scripture relates to spiritual progression to maturity. Natural life on earth is a shadow of that process because the natural reflects a parable of the spiritual (Rom 1:20; Heb 11:3). For those interested in natural things, the spiritual things of God are foolishness and not worth spending much time and effort on (1Co 2:14). The natural is indeed applicable in its own time and context, and is a very important first step in us becoming the spiritual image of God eventually (Gen 1:26; Jer 18:4; 1Co 15:22-28). The three sons of Noah are indeed the progenitors of all people living on the earth today, and the Scriptures are clear about that (Gen 6:7-10; Gen 9:1). However, these three sons of Noah and their offspring also represent our own growth process to fill and rule the whole earth, meaning we are to overcome every evil in our own lives by the indwelling Christ – and that is a lifelong war (Isa 45:7; Rom 8:20; 1Jn 2:16; Rev 17:14; Rev 12:10-11). God’s covenant after the flood also conveys His commitment with all flesh through these three sons of Noah that all in the first Adam will be made new through a work of grace by the spirit of God in Christ (Gen 9:9-17; 1Co 15:22-28; Tit 2:11-12; 1Co 3:13-15). Noah’s prophecy regarding his sons is also very insightful as through those words the continual interrelatedness between these sons and their offspring are indicative, even as they typify our own inward spiritual realms:

Gen 9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him.
Gen 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Gen 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Gen 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Although Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, was particularly mentioned here with regards to his servant role, Ham’s offspring were in general also part of these symbiotic relationships between these families as the building of the tower of Babel also proves. It was actually only after God brought confusion to the “one language” which they all spoke at that time, that division and separation took place for the first time. According to the Word of God it is indeed languages, more than anything else, which was used by God to bring division on earth:

Gen 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Gen 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Gen 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Gen 10:5 By these [Japheth’s offspring] were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue [language], after their families, in their nations [Hebrew: “gôy”/Greek: “ethnos”].

Nowhere in the Scriptures are the sons of Noah and their offspring classified in terms of outward features, including skin color, as some believe. The division of nations and families was based on language primarily. There are many unscriptural and unscientific divisions of nations propagated by those who advocate the theory of evolution or racial segregation on the grounds of certain specific physical features. These fleshly divisions are types of what the scriptures call “sensual” and carnal divisions which are always seen as immature and sinful as they are all contrary to the doctrine of Christ (Num 12:1; 1Co 3:4; Jas 3:14-16; Jud 1:17-19). For the spiritual mature the only true division God ordained “from the beginning” is the separation from sin and disobedience to His commandments (2Jn 1:5-6; Luk 12:1; 1Co 5:6-8; 2Co 7:1; Tit 3:10; 1Jn 2:15-17; 1Jn 5:21; 1Pe 1:15-16):

Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

That is the golden line of division that threads right through the Scriptures since the beginning when light and darkness were divided (Gen 1:1-5):

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

All barriers of flesh that we put up in our spiritual ignorance against those we naturally “have no dealings with”, are coming down by the effectual work of the indwelling Christ:

Joh 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
Joh 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Joh 4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Joh 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Although God has ordained an elect to be few and separate from their earthly brethren, they are still in this world and are the salt and the light to those around them. This is typified by Joseph and king David, among other examples, who were effectual workers in their own generations – to give others the “living water” in type (Mat 5:13-16):

Gen 49:26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Act 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

The theme of being effectual workers in our generation is foundational to the elect of God that helps to see how the three sons of Noah and their offspring spiritually apply in our lives. Even outwardly we should be known as the servants of God, as we also are not to resist God’s work through the evil and the many adversaries He created for His purposes in us (Mat 5:38-39; Phm 1:6; 1Co 16:9). This is also what all those names and long lists of genealogies in Scripture, even here in Genesis 10, want to make clear to us. Everyone God places in our lives serves an important purpose to bring forth His holy generation in Christ:

Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Japheth and his offspring are first mentioned in the genealogies we find in Genesis 10. The role of Japheth and his offspring in the prophecy of Noah was that of much growth and expansion, but more so especially in his relationship to Shem. The “enlargement” to different parts of the world of Japheth’s offspring, for example, were connected to the “tents of Shem”:

Gen 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

We all first believe we have a free will as we grow and expand in fleshly terms and are isolated in our own ambitions and islands surrounded and engulfed by the restless sea of mankind. This also relates to our initial way of understanding ourselves and things around us which is what is known as our first heaven in spiritual terms (Hab 1:14; Rev 17:15; Rev 21:1). The delusions of growth or expansion in the flesh with all its limitations help us to understand our own fleshliness in all its vastness and earthly glory which was never to be the ultimate habitation and glory for all in the generation of Adam (2Co 3:7-11). We recognize, God willing, that our old barren tent of flesh is our biggest hindrance to obtain spirit life as we give up the earthy wells over which the Gentiles strive (2Co 5:1-5; Gen 26:22):

Gen 10:5a By these [Japheth’s offspring] were the isles [Hebrew: “ı̂y”; Greek: “nēsos”] of the Gentiles divided in their lands…

Ham and his offspring are the second to be mentioned in the genealogies in Genesis 10 (Gen 10:6-20). Through this family of Ham we learn how we grow and expand more in an upward manner as selfish pride and haughtiness cause us to build strong cities and fortresses of flesh in our dry land. This also links with our second heaven when our own understanding is elevated with strongholds of religious delusion and we are blinded to our own self-righteousness and immaturity when we think spiritual completion is perfection of the flesh (Gen 10:8-12; Rev 13). We are hunters against the Lord and His elect. This is when we are destroyed for lack of spiritual knowledge, and we play the role of the spiritual harlot (Hos 4:1-19). This is our man of sin within the strong city of his own conceit which is spiritual Babylon – rich in false doctrines and deceit in us (Rev 16:19; Rev 17:1-6):

Pro 18:11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

Here is a link to our discussion on Ham and his offspring:

The third son of Noah, Shem and his offspring, are mentioned last in this list of the generations of the sons of Noah in Genesis 10. The Scriptures give more importance to Shem and his offspring for a very good reason as the prophecy of Noah also reminds us:

Gen 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Gen 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.

From this relationship between Japheth, “the elder”, and Shem it is clear that Shem is a type of the latter born which through several examples in Scripture, points to the new spirit man from heaven, Jesus Christ. In this respect we can reiterate a few examples in certain family relationships where the younger is chosen by God above the older; for example, Cain and Abel, Cain and Seth, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob; Leah and Rachel (Gen 5:3; Gen 17:16-19). Of Jacob’s twelve sons, Joseph and Benjamin were born from his favourite wife, Rachel, whom he married after her older sister Leah, and Rachel was initially barren (Gen 29:16-17; Gen 30:22-24; Gen 25:16-19; Rom 9:11-16). The last Adam, Christ, was before the first Adam in God’s creation, but appeared only afterwards to mankind (Joh 1:1-14; Rev 3:14; Col 1:15-17; Mar 10:31). This all helps us to see that this new spirit man comes afterwards in our lives after we went through the full process of maturity, even the three sons of Noah and their spiritual application in our lives:

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

The new spirit man is only brought forward through a judgment process on the old man of sin through which we are exercised by much tribulations and chastening to acquire the spiritual skills in the Word of righteousness (Act 14:22; 1Pe 4:12-13; 2Th 2:3-8; Heb 5:14). This “second man…from heaven” opens up our sealed book as we are given “an open door, [which] no man can shut” to enter into “the third heaven” when we take our seat with Him in “the paradise of God”, even in “earnest” while we are still here on earth (Rev 5:1-7; Rev 3:8; 2Co 12:1-4; Rev 2:7; Eph 1:13-14):

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

The first thing mentioned here about the “effectual working” of Shem and his offspring is very significant to note, which will help us to see why Shem was chosen and favoured by God (Luk 3:35):

Gen 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.

Our attention is firstly drawn to “the children of Eber” in relation to Shem although Eber was actually a great-grandson of Shem. The name “Eber” has an important connection with the word “Hebrew”:

Gen 40:15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews [Hebrew: “ibrı̂y” from “êber” = an Eberite]: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.

An Eberite is a Hebrew person in the line of Shem’s offspring. Why are the children of Eber mentioned here even before the immediate sons of Shem are mentioned? Here are the five sons of Shem mentioned in the next verse which will help us:

Gen 10:22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

The son of Shem that links with Eber is Arphaxad, the third son mentioned in that list. In Genesis 11 we see that this generational line through Arphaxad is the only one mentioned in terms of the sons of Shem, again emphasizing the importance of this family:

Gen 11:10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood [this makes Shem about 97 years old when he entered the ark]:
Gen 11:11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

Here is a shortened version of this generational line of Shem through Arphaxad to derive at the very person who will bring in the focus of all Old Testament generations from this point onwards:

1Ch 1:24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,
1Ch 1:25 Eber, Peleg, Reu,
1Ch 1:26 Serug, Nahor, Terah,
1Ch 1:27 Abram; the same is Abraham.

The name Eber in Hebrew means “the region beyond”, “to cross over” or “transition”, and that is what Abraham did when he and his family left the land of Ur of the Chaldees to cross over the river Euphrates to enter the land of Canaan across the Jordan River (Gen 11:28-32; Gen 12:1-5). The focus on Abraham and the Hebrew nation is God’s way of telling us the long route through many nations and people we will have to go to get to His spiritual elect in Christ. In these long lists of genealogies so many people and places must take up their ordained functions (many for evil purposes) to set the stage for spiritual maturity in our lives. None of these people and nations mentioned will ever be permanently discarded by God – they will also be saved eventually (Rom 11:30-32). Nevertheles, they are all relevant to the spiritual process of God’s elect first as per God’s design. All the names mentioned in these lists of genealogies serve their effectual purpose which forms an important route to bring us to Abraham through the generation of Shem. God indeed uses all people in His one plan to bring His purposes to fruition:

Gen 10:22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
Gen 10:23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
Gen 10:24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
Gen 10:25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

Eber had two sons, namely Peleg and Joktan. Peleg’s name in Hebrew means “division”, and here again an emphasis is placed on his generational line because God is narrowing the focus as mentioned earlier. The other son of Eber, Joktan and his offspring, are mentioned here – but not Peleg or his offspring:

Gen 10:26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
Gen 10:27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
Gen 10:28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
Gen 10:29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.
Gen 10:30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.

Peleg’s offspring are not mentioned here in Genesis 10 but left until after the division of languages at Babel in Genesis 11 (Gen 11:10-27). It is only after God confounded the languages at Babel that Peleg and his generation were highlighted. It was indeed through Peleg that the generations of Abraham were brought forward. The stage is now set for one of God’s prominent types of Christ and His elected ones to appear from all that confusion and darkness (Gen 1:2-5). It is indeed the singleness of the faith and doctrine of Christ that stands out from the confusion all around (2Co 11:3). Abraham is the type of what the faith of Christ is all about and how we can please God only through that faith (Gal 3:16: Gal 3:29):

Gal 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Gal 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.


Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the website, including these topics and links:

What Are The Three Heavens?


Who Is The Israel Of God?

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