Genesis, Exodus and Jesus

The first two books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus, are foundational. They teach vital lessons for everyone who wants to take God seriously. The New Testament shows that righteousness is by faith … faith in Jesus Christ. There is a powerful connection between Genesis, Exodus and the New Testament. The books are linked … supernaturally. And there are important lessons for the modern-day church highlighted in the words and divisions of these books.

Genesis, Esodus and the New Testament

There is a clear division in the book of Genesis. There are 50 chapters in Genesis. The first 11 chapters cover creation, the fall, the flood and the tower of Babel. The last 39 chapters are the story of Abraham and his family.

Abraham was declared righteous in the eyes of God because of his faith. "He believed in the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

The last 39 chapters of Genesis are foundational because they show the vital importance of faith, and what faith looks like.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not perfect people. The Bible shows their very human flaws and failings. Furthermore, they did not follow a religion. There was no priesthood to conduct religious rituals and there was no set of written laws to be obeyed. But, they had promises from the LORD, and they believed Him. They lived simple lives, in relationship with God.

Their faith wasn't triumphal. They erected no monuments or symbols; no buildings for worship. Their faith wasn't something they paraded before others. They simply believed the LORD. And when they knew He was speaking, they obeyed. Their obedience demonstrated their belief in Him.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of this if we are to understand what it takes to be right with God.The story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is related in the last 39 chapters of Genesis. 39, expressed by its prime factors, is 3 x 13.

We should also note that 13 chapters, from Genesis 12 to Genesis 24, cover the patriarch, Abraham. Another 13 chapters, from Genesis chapters 25 to 36, plus chapter 38, are the account of Isaac, and Jacob and his sons. And 13 chapters, Genesis 37 and chapters 39 to 50, are the account of one of Jacob’s sons - Joseph.

So, the 50 chapters of Genesis may be summarised as follows: 11 chapters plus 39 chapters, or 11 + (3 x 13).The book of Exodus follows the book of Genesis. There are 40 chapters in Exodus. So, we have 11 + (3 x 13) + 40 chapters in Genesis and Exodus.

We know that what is hinted at in the Old Testament finds fulfillment in the New Testament. There are 137,720 Greek words in the original text of the New Testament.

137,720 is 11 x 313 x 40.

If this is a coincidence then it is a big coincidence. 11 ... 3 13 ... 40 chapters. 11 ... 3 1 3 ... 40 words. Old Testament ... New Testament.

It looks like design. It looks like a mathematical feature that was built in to the original text of the Bible. Why?

Well, first, it sends a message that the supernatural hand of God directed those who recorded the words of Scripture. Second, it verifies that the division of chapters in the Bible are there by the intent of God. And it verifies that 137,720 words are the correct count for the original Greek text of the New Testament.

But third, it raises a question: do these divisions (11 ... 3 1 3 ... 40) symbolize lessons that send a message to the church today? And the answer, we believe, is "yes".

This number (3 13) seems to symbolize faith ... the simple faith of Abraham. Faith, not expressed as a religion of outward show, and not marked by rules and regulations and rituals, but lived in relationship with God.

This number (40) shows up frequently in the plain text of Scripture, in connection with a period of testing.

In the time of Noah and the flood it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was on Mt Sinai receiving the Law for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.

The book of Exodus has 40 chapters. A test is on view, for the tribes of Israel. They saw miracles when God brought them out of Egypt. But, they complained. "They did not believe in God, and they did not trust in His salvation" it says, in Psalm 78 verse 22.

They failed the test. So, God placed them under the Law. The Law is not ten commandments. The Law has 613 commandments. Israel said they would obey the Law.

"All the people answered together and said: 'All that the Lord has spoken we will do.'" (Exodus 19:8 and 24:3 and Deut 6:25). But, they didn't. And, they haven't.

Do Christians face a test of faith in Jesus Christ? Yes. The New Testament says that we are in a spiritual battle. We are running a race. We must stay in faith in Jesus to the end.

What about this number (11)?

The 11th chapter of Genesis is the conclusion of the first of the divisions in that book. It is the story of the tower of Babel. At Babel God humbled man. God demonstrated that He is not interested in what can be achieved in human strength, even though man's ability is considerable.

At the fall, man acted in pride. He wanted to be "like God". And He disobeyed God. Since then God has been in a process of reversing that pride, by humbling man.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob built nothing lasting. They lived as pilgrims and wanderers. They waited. That's humbling.

When God placed Israel under the Law, He did it to show that men cannot achieve righteousness by their own efforts. We need a Savior. That is a rebuke to human pride.

When God sent pagans to destroy the temple in Jerusalem, He did it to show that the enduring temple will not be man-made. It will be a spiritual work, of living stones ... a work of God.

And when Jesus came He declared that, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed, but if it dies it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

Death to self; death to pride and human ambition is God's way.

And Jesus, although He is God and the Creator, humbled Himself unto death on a cross. And out of that humility and sacrifice and obedience comes resurrection life. There is no more stark rebuke to the pride of man than the cross of Jesus Christ.

Back to the beginning, to Babel. We read in Genesis chapter 11, man said: "Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower to reach into heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves ..." (Genesis 11:4). And God noted that, when they were of one heart and mind, men would be able to accomplish anything they desired. (Genesis 11:6). But God won't have that. He won't have man exalt himself. God has a purpose ... to humble man. So, God scattered man over the face of the earth.

And that's a lesson too easily forgotten. Yes, man has abilities. Together with other men, in unity, he has almost unlimited potential. But the lesson of chapter 11 is that God wants us to be dependent on Him. In God alone is life.

Jesus didn't establish an organisation of men. Jesus didn't set a priesthood between believers and God. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead men into the purposes that He has for eternity.

The Lord is building His house. Only what He builds will endure. (Psalm 127:1)

What He is building is evident only in the Spirit. It is not physical. It is spiritual. It exalts the Lord ... not man. It is by faith. And faith will be tested.

It was this way for Israel, and it is this way for the church. God had 2,000 years of dealings with the Jews, from Abraham to Jesus. God has had 2,000 years of dealings with the church, from Jesus to today. And, Jesus said that "the times of the Gentiles" will come to an end. (Luke 21:24)

It's a good time to assess what we are doing, and how we are doing it.