Bible Studies > Self-Portraits of God: Lesson 5

Self-Portraits of God

Studies in the Life and Work of Jesus

Lesson 5: Drawings by the Prophets: Old Testament Prophecies of the Coming One

General Introduction

AND THE EARTH WAS WITHOUT FORM AND VOID. And God said let the earth bring forth. And God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.

So God created man in His own image; male and female. And the Lord planted a garden in Eden, and there He put the man He had made. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which God had made. Then the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate.

And they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees. And the Lord said to the woman, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Then to Adam He said, Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you saying, you shall not eat of it:

Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust shall you return. Then the Lord God sent man out of the garden of Eden. (See Genesis, chapters 1-3 for this story.)

The casting out of the garden testifies to the excellence of the garden. “For by grace are you saved through faith.” Faith is not expressed toward God when He agrees with you; when things go as you like. There was nothing in the garden which would enable people living there to disagree with God—the Creator of the Garden and those who lived in it. The Garden was an expression of the gentle love God had toward those He had created.

Faith toward God is only expressed when He disagrees with you. Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

The perfection of the garden left no opportunity for the expression of that faith which activates grace and purifies the soul. The sentence pronounced by God over the guilty pair which declared that it was going to be by difficulties that they would proceed through their lives was not motivated by the anger of God, but that sentence came from His love; His desire for their continued companionship.

Opportunities for the expression of faith must be created; an environment with a lack of perfection was an absolute necessity for the salvation of the soul to be possible; the salvation of the soul is a co-operative work, God making the potential, creating the opportunities for the expression of doubt by His children—people responding by faith; that faith which activates grace and brings it into the soul-temple as the restorative element provided by God for the restoration of the souls of those of His children who choose to be part of the kingdom which He is setting up for those who choose the service of others over the service of the self.

In this choice they choose the life pattern of love; love for the neighbor—the one who is near; the one to whom they have the opportunity to reveal what God is like. This love seeks not its own good, but the good of those by whom it is surrounded. Love is both the gift of God and the developed result of the choices made by the one choosing to follow the pattern of other-people-centeredness.

The Lord desires to be loved by His children. The quality of love which He desires is the quality of love which is the outgrowth of an appreciation of His character. This love can only be returned after a personal knowledge of that toward which it is expressed is acquired.

Those events which occur in our lives, and which by occurring acquaint us with the God who loves us, are per-destined. See Romans 2:10. Before the foundations of the world were laid, God planned for us. See Ephesians 1:4.

The salvation of the soul is a co-operative work. The co-operation which brings about the salvation of souls is not only required on the part of man, who must express that faith which attaches to grace and brings it into the life, but it is also required on the part of God.

“I will send someone to help you,” is His promise. Someone will come- to enlighten and act as a guide to choosing those choices which will bring grace to the soul to restore the soul from the damage occurring in connection with the events in the garden of Eden, and our own mis-choices; someone who, by coming, will bring grace within the reach of everyone; every grace-remade soul then being a dwelling place of God in the

Spirit. See Ephesians 2:22

What would such a sent-person be like? Male or female? When would they come? How would any one know that the sent person was the sent person? There are so many questions that immediately come to mind when one hears about Adam and Eve being created by God, made in His image, on a just-finished earth, provided with a garden home and then expelled from their new house only to be promised One to bring assistance!

Questions like, what kind of assistance was the coming One bringing? What would it do? Whereas the One expelling them from their home was the same One sending the assistance and help—what could they expect the future to look like?

There is of course no obvious end to the questions that one might want to ask about this story, so let just start someplace, anyplace, in no real order, and look at a few of the prediction-descriptions of the coming One appearing in the Old Testament. This is a great study! The word pictures are fascinating. (Sometime you must read through all of them all!)

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