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The Bible - The lessons contained in the overall story

blackboard says mentor?

Note: This is Important to Understand!

In a way, the Bible becomes our mentor presenting a series of word pictures and analogies that are interwoven in the stories of the people featured in the Bible. These instructive sketches, present to the reader what God is accomplishing. (Isaiah 28:13) Over and over, these "lessons" portray what He is accomplishing (Hosea 12:9-10). They clearly demonstrate the actions He has taken to restore us into relationship with Him, and, what our choice and responsibilities are.

On this page and a few to follow, I will attempt to hit the highlight events of the Bible, and hopefully, you will start to see a mental image of what is called the "Plan of God." While the image of your understanding may first be dim, further study will enhance the contrast to make the portrait of God's plan more clearly understandable.

a burnt offering

The Concept of the Vicarious Sacrifice

Vicarious Definition: - performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another: vicarious sacrifice.

The concept of the vicarious sacrifice is first seen early in Genesis. Adam and Eve had disobeyed God's instructions and as a consequence, they felt naked and afraid of their Creator and they were hiding from Him. They had been told that if they partook of the forbidden tree's fruit, they would die. In fact what died, was the intimate relationship between God and them, it was a spiritual death of separation (Genesis 3:8). God among other things, is life, so, to be separated from Him is spiritual death which has been the condition of all mankind ever since.

Adam and Eve, using their own reasoning and industry to repair the damage in relationship their sin caused, fashioned clothing out of fig leaves to cover their shame (Genesis 3:7). Their new clothes may have worked somewhat, but their fear of God because of their sin, was still there. Incidentally, this is the first man-made religion, religious actions based on what they thought was right. Over the years, many more man-made religions would be invented, always offering something different than what God has offered.

God didn't say much about Adam and Eve's new clothes but, as a result of their sin, innocent animals were killed (the first shed blood and death in the garden,) and then appropriate coverings were made for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21).

Their sin caused a change not only in relationship, something changed within them. Before their act of rebellion, they only knew and understood good, now in rebellion, they opened up a new operating area in their hearts and minds. The knowledge of good and evil.

No longer would they dwell in the presence of God in the "Garden of God" where all life flourished. Now, they were banished to a realm where both "good and evil" existed in all its forms. Now, instead of only one prohibition, (not eating from the specified tree,) they would live in a world where good and evil choices were everywhere, all the time.

Another thought: one of the things God is doing, is rooting out rebels. No doubt back in the day, there were some that would think and say that the prescribed sacrifices "were stupid." by doing that instead of cooperating with God's instruction,

Rev 21:3 (hover to see) - This seemingly obscure verse found near the end of the last book of the Bible, is what I would rate as the second most significant. This verse reveals "the purpose for everything," including your life, and mine. It clearly states the expected purpose of life, which is God's project to enlarge His loving eternal family. From the start, the project certainly looked a bit halting, but, with a bit more information and consideration, His methods prove to be way beyond sheer genius.

Toy robot

Some have said: "Why didn't God just make us to love him? " I'll answer with a question. If you bought a robot that was perfectly obedient to your every instruction and command and it even said "I love you" on occasion, would you feel loved? I would bet that you would answer, NO, that you would not feel loved for the following reason. In order for love to exist, the ability "to not love" has to also exist, otherwise, what is seen as love, (a freewill expression of the will and heart,) is only indentured service, love-prostitution, or outright slavery.

Our Pug Lily

There is another angle to this, Genesis says that God created mankind "in His image." This involves so much more than what we look like, a shortlist includes our ability to think, reason, consider, design and build, appreciate, and of course, love. If God would have chosen to make people inferior to him, how good could that fellowship ever be?

My wife and I have a Pug dog, Lily, who we love and would be upset if anything happened to her. Why? Short of Lily saying that she "loves us," she exhibits many characteristics of love. She is happy to see us, wants to be where we are, she is not satisfied with just lying in bed near us, she needs to be touching us. And, within her ability, she nearly always tries to please us. But in all this, would she, or a house full of perfect Pugs be a suitable replacement for our children? No. Because there is just too much difference between our intellect and abilities and theirs.

The lessons for us in this section:a note pad

  1. Sin is rebellion against God.
  2. Rebellion severs a relationship between individuals and between us and God.
  3. Mankind's attempts to repair the damage is futile.
  4. God provided the remedy to "cover" their sin.
  5. They choose to allow God to cover them with the appropriate covering.
  6. Even though they were "covered," the consequences of their sin continued.
  7. Like them, we need to accept the covering God has offered.
  8. Then, we should keep trying to turn away from all aspects of rebellion against God's instructions.

(Hover over the Scripture to see it)

In Genesis 5:5-28, there is a list of the genealogy from Adam to Noah. In Hebrew, names usually mean things and often, the name meanings usually have of relationship to the subject that the scripture section is addressing. When the meanings of the names in this scripture are strung together, in the same order as written in the scripture, the sentence contains a startling message.

If we string it together, here is the result:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching, (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

And that my friends, is the Gospel of Christ in a "nutshell" in a code contained in Genesis.

To read a lot more about this, Click Here.

The Story Continues:

God's search for a man that will completely trust Him

Abraham's house

God's Amazing Promises to Abraham - Gen. 11:26-32

In this passage, we learn about the patriarch of the Jews, Abram, which means "exalted father." Later, God renamed him to Abraham, which means: "father of many" (Gen 17:5). We also learn that Abram was Lot's brother, (the same "Lot" involved in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) . We also see that Abram's wife, Sarai was barren, and unable to have children.

In Genesis 12:1-5, God instructed Abraham to move from his birthplace to Canaan, where the Canaanites lived. Also in this passage, God makes four promises to Abraham.

1. That Abraham would be the patriarch of a great nation, Israel.
2. God would bless those that bless Abraham's offspring.
3. God would curse those that cursed Abraham's offspring.
4. That Abraham's offspring would be a blessing to the entire world.

God's promise to Abraham was reconfirmed in Genesis 13:14-17.

Genesis 15:1-6, Here, God's promise is stated again. In Gen 15:3, Abraham is proposing that one of his servants born in his house will be his heir because of his wife being incapable of producing offspring. In Gen 15:4, God said that Abraham's offspring would come from his own body.

Trust, Faith and Righteousness

(Hover over the Scriptures to see them)

First a couple of concepts: The words, "trust" and "faith" are interchangeable. Where the word "faith" can be a bit abstruse, "trust" couldn't be clearer and it is a good practice to think "trust," when you hear the word, "faith."

"Righteous" = being seen and accepted by God, as being completely sinless.

The Landmark Verse: Genesis 15:6, "And he, (Abraham) believed, (trusted) in the Lord and He, (God) accounted it to him (Abraham) for righteousness."

The Theme of Trusting God is Throughout the Scriptures. Here are but a few examples"

A glimpse ahead - Lessons about individuals trusting God are written in the Bible over and over. The reason that "trust" is such a big issue, is that salvation (eternal life with the God that created you,) is obtained by trusting in the only provision of salvation (without modification) that God has offered. Namely, the vicarious sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. John 3:16.

Abraham's Story Continues:

Sarah offers her handmaiden

Another, "Man-made" Modification to God's Plan

Genesis 16 -Because of Abraham's wife Sarai's barren status and Abraham's great age, Sarai came up with a idea; modifying what God had said, and second-guessing His plan. She offered her handmaid, Hagar to Abraham and through that union, Ishmael, the patriarch of the Arab people, was born complete with an ominous prophecy that seems to be true even today with his succeeding generations. (Gen 16:12).

Genesis 17:15-22 - Earlier in chapter 17, God restated his promise to Abraham then, here, God explains that Sarai, now renamed Sarah by God, was going to have a baby boy. In verse 21, God says that His covenant would be established with Isaac, and not Ishmael. In Genesis 22:2 and Gen 22:12 as well as Gen 22:16, God calls Isaac, Abraham's "only son."

 The Lessons for us:

  • God keeps His promises and honors those that trust Him.
  • It is easy for us to grow impatient waiting for God to act.
  • Our inpatients can cause us to second-guess God's plan and launching into our own solution.

Abraham's Story Continues:

Abraham offers Isaac

A Special "Miracle" Son and a Horrifying Request

Genesis 22:1-3 - Time has gone by, and now Isaac, is a young man and God tells Abraham to do something so horrifying, it is difficult to believe. For Abraham to take Isaac, (whom Abraham loved,) to a special place and kill and offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham's response is to "split wood and saddle up." In this section, (Genesis 22:4-8) three days later, Abraham and his son separate from the others and Abraham shows his trust in God by telling them that, "I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you." In verse 7, Isaac asks "where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Again showing his trust in God, Abraham answers "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together."

Don't miss this: the animal God provided Abraham, was not a "lamb" as Isaac inquired, it was a "ram." The "lamb" would be provided by God at a future date. Remember, that in John 1:29, Jesus is called by John the Baptist, the "Lamb of God."

Genesis 22:9-13 - In this section, Abraham arrived to the "special place " that God had showed him, and Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac. As he was getting ready to plunge the knife ending Isaac’s life, the Angel of the Lord called Abraham and said STOP! The test was complete and Abraham passed, he fully trusted God.

Trust, Obedience and a God Provided Sacrifice

(Hover over the Scriptures to see them)

This story is a type, a lesson about another Father, that would offer His "Only Son" as a sacrifice at the special place that He showed Abraham. It would seem that Abraham knew he was acting out a story, by him naming the place where this happened: "In the Mount of the LORD it shall (future tense,) be provided." Gen 22:14.

But the naming of the place is not all, the actual story shares a lot of parallels, to the story of Jesus and Isaac:

  • Both Were Sons Of Promise - First of all, both the birth of Isaac and the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, had been promised beforehand by God: “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.” (Genesis 18:10) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Announcements Were Questioned By Their Mothers - Both Isaac and Jesus were announced beforehand by God to their mothers, both of who at first questioned how their births could be possible: “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Genesis 18:12) “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34)
  • Both were Miraculous Births - Both Isaac and Jesus were born miraculously in ways that were seemingly impossible: “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” (Genesis 18:11) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)
  • Born At God's Appointed Time - Isaac and Jesus were both born at a preset time, ordered by God Himself: “For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:2) “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4)
  • Both Were Named Before Their Births By God - Isaac and Jesus both were given their names by God before they were born: “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” (Genesis 17:19) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
  • Both were Loved By Their Fathers - Both Isaac and Jesus are said to have been loved by their Fathers: “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2) “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5:20) This in itself might not seem very significant until we consider that no parent in the Bible is said to have “loved” their child before Genesis 22:2 tells us that Abraham loved Isaac. In fact, the word “love” does not even appear in the Bible at all before this verse. It is, therefore, noteworthy that we are told specifically of Abraham’s affection toward Isaac.
  • Both Were Obedient Unto Death - Both Isaac and Jesus submitted to the will of their Fathers, even to the point of their own deaths: “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” (Genesis 22:9) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8).
  • Both Were Heirs Of All Things - Both Isaac and Jesus were Heirs of all things that their Fathers possessed: “And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” (Genesis 25:5) “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:2)
  • Both Were Bridegrooms Who Loved Their Brides - Both Isaac and Jesus were presented with brides whom they loved: “But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac…And Isaac brought her into his mother’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her…” (Genesis 24:4) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25)
  • Both Were Made Alive From That Which Was Dead - Isaac’s birth is an illustration of resurrection, that is, life coming from death: “And being not weak in faith, [Abraham] considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:” (Romans 4:19) “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18).

A glimpse ahead - Lessons about individuals trusting God are written in the Bible over and over. The reason that "trust" is such a big issue, is that salvation (eternal life with the God that created you) is obtained by trusting in the only provision of salvation (without modification) that God has offered. namely, the vicarious sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. John 3:16.

 The Lessons for us:

  • God revealed through this event what He was going to do for mankind, that He would provide the Lamb for sacrifice. Just like the "Lamb," in Isaiah 53:6-7
  • Key Point - In this passage, we catch a glimpse of the anguish of a father preparing to sacrifice his son. And through this, we can gain some understanding of God's anguish, as His only Son was tortured, mocked and spit upon on our behalf.
  • This was certainly a major test for Abraham, we who believe, are asked everyday by God through situations large and small the same question: Do you trust Me?

How would you describe the Bible's message?

pat Pat - Health Care Professional: The message of the Bible is God's grace redeeming man back to himself, to live with Him in a place of peace and love called, Heaven. God is love there is no selfishness or hate in Him. The story of Adam and Eve reveals man's nature of selfishness, wanting to do what we want without our creator being involved. Isn't that our world today? Always going and doing things "our way" without God being involved. Most people fail to realize that GOD is LOVE, you will not find real peace or love without him being involved in your life.
Keith Keith -God knows that we are like Him, thinking people, and He has given us the Bible as our resource to discover exactly why we are here, who He is, and, His expectations and future for us. In other words, "our purpose for life." Although there are many manifestations of our personal rebellion against our Creator, the basic choice the Bible presents us is: either let God be God and gratefully and willingly be under his loving authority. OR, declare yourself to be "your own god" and live your life accordingly. These in a nutshell, are our only two choices in life. - Click here to read my testimony.
Kathy Kathy - From my perspective, the basic message of the Bible is hope.

We were lost but through God's Son, we can be found. Adam and Eve were created spiritually alive. They were able to have a loving relationship with God their Father. When they sinned, not only would they die physically, but, more importantly, they died spiritually. The relationship was broken with God and they were without hope. But God had a plan that would restore that once loving and sinless, relationship. God loves His creation wants to redeem the human race back to Himself.

Since Adam, mankind has been born with a sin nature. We are all lost no matter how good we might be. How could a sinless God restore His creation back to Himself? As I said, God had a plan and that plan included His own Son, Jesus. Jesus, born a man, even though He is God in the flesh. But unlike us, Jesus was born spiritually alive. He led a perfect, sinless life. This is where our hope came into play. Because Jesus was sinless, His death brought us life. We can be restored to God the Father through His Son, who, was our perfect sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29).

By placing our trust in Jesus and His perfect blood, we can once again come before God's throne in fellowship with Him. When God looks at us, He doesn't see our sinful selves, He sees Jesus and His blood covering our sin, making us righteous. That is grace, receiving something we didn't deserve, but exactly what God in His mercy, offers us through Jesus. In a sense, when we ask Jesus to save us and accept Him as our Savior, we receive a spiritual blood transfusion. We become new creatures in Christ, (II Cor. 5:17). That is the Bible's message. We have hope through Christ and only through Him. What a perfect plan! This simple message of hope through Christ, has changed millions of lives throughout the history of the world, and it continues to this day. Hopeless, broken people, can find hope in God and His extreme love for us. He changes lives; He changes hearts. He loves us and that is the message of the Bible. That is The Truth for everyone who will accept Jesus as their Lord! Hope is alive and well! Praise God!
Jimmy Jimmy - Coming Soon
Donald Donald - Retired University Horticulturist. For many years, my days have begun by reading the bible.

I begin the day with a prayer. My prayers are mostly about thanksgiving for all that God has done; I pray for others who are in need; I pray for forgiveness of sin in my life and that I might grow in my love for God. The prayer is followed by reading the Word of God, which is generally one chapter a day. Using this routine I have been through the Bible a number of times. Today, I am in the Book of Joshua. It is the story of how God instructed Joshua to clear out the Promised Land of all the rebellious tribes who inhabited the land that Israel, the nation, was about to enter. The bible is replete throughout the pages of God and His People. The bible is a source of truth for living one's life. Wisdom, guidance, healing, instruction are all found, when seeking help.

Much of the Old Testament is history. It tells of the creation, the fall and the making of a nation. The main theme throughout, is the story of man's rebellion. All this is countered by God's love for all of his creatures and creation. Early in Genesis is the promise of a coming redeemer who will come to this earth, minister, die on the cross and rise again to new life. The Redeemer is the Father's only begotten Son, whose spilt blood at the Cross heals and cleanses white as snow, the sinner who receives the free gift by BELIEVING and who otherwise, would die the second death of separation from God into eternity.

The story of God's love and the giving of his son (John 3:16,) is the central theme throughout scripture. THAT IS THE MESSAGE of the bible and mankind's hope. History, wisdom, solution to problems, responsibility and much more engulf the pages. So, in summary, the bible is a hand book designed to help in "living life." The central MESSAGE from cover to cover, is a loving God and the sacrificing of his Son so that a rebellious people can be saved. To God be the glory. Click here to read my testimony.
Jenn Jenn - How would I describe the Bibles message? I have read the Bible a few times in my life and each time I read it, depending on what I am going through in my life at that moment, the words I read will speak to me in different ways.But, the message always stays the same. The message to me is about redeeming man back to God.

In the beginning of Genesis, Genesis 2:25, it says: "And they were both naked , the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." A little further on in Genesis 3:8-11, it says: " And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, " I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"

So to me as I read the Bible, I see God working to bring us back to Eden in a sense, where man walked freely with God naked and unashamed. God's love is so deep, more then we can understand with our human intellect and understanding. You see it in Genesis 3:15, where God tells the serpent; the deceiver: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel." This is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ coming to earth as a man, God in the flesh, crushing Satan and the curse over man, when Jesus was crucified on the cross. God, the Son became a man. He was tempted in all ways, yet did not sin ("we cannot say we don't have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness" Hebrews 4:15). He willingly gave up His life, even to death on a cross. He became cursed for us, so that by putting our trust in Him, it would render the curse to no effect for us. He defeated death, the grave and the bondage of sin when He died on the cross, shedding His precious blood for you and for me. Yet, the grave could not hold Him and on the 3rd day He rose, proving that He is the Victor over death and Hell.

When we place our trust in Jesus, His blood covers us from the inside out and makes us pure, so that we can go before the throne of God unashamed. For those who are in Christ, when Gods sees them, He sees His Son, Jesus. So, the words in this book are from God to man. God wants us to come back to Him and have fellowship with Him once again. It is a message that is not hidden or complicated. It is often stated "Let him who has ears to hear, hear." God wants us to hear and pay attention to the message that is proclaimed through this Holy Divine Book, may we pay attention.

God Bless, Jenn

Keith, I have tried to read the Bible but I just can't seem to make sense of it? Is there something that can help?

The books of the Bible were written in a completely different culture and languages, at least 2,000 years ago. Sometimes, people even pick some of the most difficult Bible books to start in. In light of all this, it is no wonder that there is difficulty sometimes making sense of some of the stories and idioms, and lessons. This is especially true in the book of Revelation which is full of idioms and symbolism.

Here are some helpful suggestions

Salvation Now!
Exit door

It is strange how the People of the Book are unique in so many ways, almost as unique as the redemption that the God of the Bible, offers freely to anyone that will listen.

In the next section, we will see how God calls His People out of Egypt and into the wilderness.

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On to Egypt with the Children of Israel