WEEK Two

GOD’S FAMILY

God’s original intent was to merge His spiritual and human creations into one, united family.1 The establishment of this family was not mere happenstance, as God has no need to act in ways that fulfill Himself. He’s God. He created His family simply because He wanted to enjoy them.2 One of the more profound features of these created beings is the ability of free will. While free will is necessary in order for true love to be expressed – or even possible — it also creates the risk for “not love.” That is, created beings could decide not to return love to God, and instead, rebel against Him. This was a risk God was willing to take – that is how great His love for us is! Unfortunately, His created beings made poor choices with this gift and His family was torn apart. These rebellions didn’t stop God from pursuing His plans for a family, though. He had a rescue plan that He put in place to bring his alienated children back home to Him. In an act of perfect sacrifice, Jesus came to Earth to reconcile the family back to their Father. Day by day, the Kingdom family moves towards its ultimate destiny – eternity with God in a New Heaven and New Earth where both His spiritual and earthly families can live united together, with God.3 But before we can fully appreciate the epic scale of God’s rescue plan, we need to understand the epic scale of the rebellions themselves.

 

  1. Heiser, Michael S. What Does God Want?(Blind Spot Press, 2018. Kindle Edition.), 9.
  2. Interestingly enough, the Bible teaches that God was not alone at the time He created His human family. He has already created his spiritual (or heavenly family). Passages such as Job 38:4-7 portray a picture of God creating His earthly family with His created spiritual beings – whom which would merge with this earthly family.3
  3. Ibid, 10.

RESOURCE:

What Does God Want? – Dr. Michael S. Heiser

DAILY READING

DAY 1 - 5/5

What is the Bible?

“In Genesis chapter 3, we read about the first of three rebellions in the Bible – the rebellion of Adam and Eve. It might surprise you to know that the events in this chapter were brought on by an even earlier rebellion. In the chapter we are about to read, one of God’s supernatural children decided to dishonor God’s decision to have a human family. He did this by tempting Eve, hoping God would destroy her and Adam. He came to Eve in the form of a serpent (Gen 3:1-7). The Bible refers to the serpent as Satan and the Devil (Rev 12:9). This disobedience to God resulted in banishment from the very presence of God and the apparent loss of the Garden of Eden – what would come to be called “death.” While the enemy succeeded in getting Eve to sin, he failed when it came to get rid of humanity permanently. God will ultimately restore the Garden and usher in an eternal Kingdom that is inclusive of His loyal Kingdom family.”1

 

  1. Heiser, Michael S. What Does God Want?(Blind Spot Press, 2018. Kindle Edition.), 13-15.

     

    RESOURCE:

    What Does God Want? – Dr. Michael S. Heiser

    Click Here

     

    Genesis 3 (ESV)

    The Fall

    3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

    He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

    And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

    14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

    “Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
    on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
    15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

    16 To the woman he said,

    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

    17 And to Adam he said,

    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
    cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

    20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

    22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

    DAY 2 - 5/6

    Often times, the “Fall of Man” episode in the book of Genesis takes the blame for the existence of evil and chaos in the world. While this isn’t far from the truth, it certainty fails to include additional episodes that takes God’s family into deeper transgression. Genesis 6 tells an odd story of the “Sons of Gods” – spiritually created beings of God – who find the daughters of man attractive. In this way, these spiritual beings sin against God, breed with God’s earthly family, and give rise to a family that bear the image of themselves. Notice, this was not God’s design – this was a direct rebellion of their mandate. This made them rivals to God, their own Heavenly Father. God never intended to make His earthly humans to become slaves – but instead to rule with Him as a Family. Unfortunately, the sin of this rebellion had occurred, and the consequences were catastrophic. The rebellion of these beings ravaged the Earth – and humankind with it. This grieved the heart of the Father so severely that He decided that the best course of action was to wash the world clean with the waters of a flood and start again with the one righteous human left – Noah.

     

    RESOURCE:

    What Does God Want? – Dr. Michael S. Heiser

    Click Here

    Genesis 6 (ESV)

    When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

    The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

    These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

    11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.”22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

    DAY 3 - 5/7

    Genesis 12-50

    The Tower of Babel incident is an additional episode of rebellion and direct insurgency toward God. Immediately following the flood, God’s people were to continue the mandate given to Adam and Eve – they needed to be fruitful and fill the earth with God’s family. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t end with a restoration of the Garden, but instead with a tower in Babel built to glorify themselves – not God. This incident gave birth to consequences that would send shockwaves throughout the rest of history.

    Regarding this rebellion, Dr. Michael Heiser writes, “The real significance [of the events at the tower of Babel] is found in two unfamiliar verses in another biblical book. Here they are:

    When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage. (Deut 32:8-9)

    In this way, God disinherits His people, spreads them across the world, assigns [corrupt] supernatural beings to rule the land, and further creates a divide in the people as language begins to differ. God’s family was officially disbanded – well, so they thought. Luckily, God will not give up.”1

    1. Heiser, Michael S. What Does God Want?(Blind Spot Press, 2018. Kindle Edition.), 18-20.

      RESOURCE:

      What Does God Want? – Dr. Michael S. Heiser

      Click Here

       

      Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV)

      11 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

       

      Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (NLT)

       

      When the Most High assigned lands to the nations,
      when he divided up the human race,
      he established the boundaries of the peoples
      according to the number in his heavenly court.

      “For the people of Israel belong to the Lord;
      Jacob is his special possession.

       

      Genesis 11:27-32 (ESV)

       

      27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

      31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.

      DAY 4 - 5/8

      The Covenants

      In response to the disinheriting of the nations, Yahweh gave rise to a holy community of people whom which He would could call His own. It is important to note that God wanted to start this family – it was certainly not earned by His earthly creations. God never wanted to turn away from His people. To achieve this, God chose a man by the name of Abram, who would eventually take on the new name of Abraham. It was nothing that Abram had earned, but instead it was overarching faith and trust in God that would be the catalyst for God’s family to stay in His presence.1 Genesis 12 outlines the covenant made with Abram and His family to start this new nation – the family of God. It is through this family that the Savior of the world would emerge and usher in the restoration of the Kingdom of God.

       

      1. Heiser, Michael S. What Does God Want?(Blind Spot Press, 2018. Kindle Edition.), 20-21.

         

        RESOURCE:

        What Does God Want? – Dr. Michael S. Heiser

        Click Here

         

        Genesis 12 (ESV)

        12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

        So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

        10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance,12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

        17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” 20 And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

        DAY 5 - 5/9

        Colossians 1 begins with a beautiful depiction of a family-oriented view of God’s people. We see Paul not only honor God, but also those who have been welcomed back into the family of God. This is a clear picture of the benefits and worldview of a life lived within this covenant family. Paul then, beginning in verse 15, moves to discussing the intentions of the Son of God for all of humanity. In verses 21-23, he explains the purpose of the work of King Jesus – to unite the church as the family of God. In this reconciliation, humans are no longer alienated from Yahweh, but instead now welcomed back into His family through the image of the Son and the gospel of the Kingdom. Paul concludes the chapter by teaching about discipleship and the means by which God uses His family to bring others into the glorious fold of Heaven.

         

        Colossians 1 (ESV)

        Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

        To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:

        Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

        We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

        And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

        15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

        21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

        24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

        DAY 6 - 5/10

        For the entirety of this chapter, John outlines the love exuded from the Father as He has called us to be His children. Paul puts massive emphasis on this truth as he explains how this love should not be taken for granted. As the family of God, we should act in such a way that is holy, set apart, and sacred – or the image of God we were made to be. The latter half of 1 John 3 ascribes love as the defining characteristic of the children of God. In John’s words, “whoever does not love abides in death.” John unpacks how this phenomenon unfolded in the case of Cain and Abel and how it can continue to play out this side of the New Jerusalem.  This is why it is love that sets the family of God apart from everything else. Verse 23 says, “and this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.” This is how we stay loyal to the family – both in heart and in action!

         

        1 John 3 (ESV)

        See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

        Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

        11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

        16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

        19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

        DAY 7 - 5/11

        Ephesians 3 is an exceptionally important passage – especially in regard to the Gentiles. One of the most debated topics of the Second Temple era was the inclusion of Gentiles in the Jewish framework of the family of God. Was the Gospel of the Kingdom for both the Jew and the Gentile? Until this mystery, as defined in Ephesians 3, was revealed by God, this topic caused much legal and relational turmoil. It wasn’t until God revealed the inclusion of the Gentiles to Peter and Paul that the full view of the Gospel came into view. Verse 6 outlines this mystery and provides clear understanding of both the how and why Gentiles were to be grafted into Israel – the chosen people of God. Paul was certainly confident this was a pivotal key to understanding and relating to God’s diverse family.

         

        Ephesians 3 (ESV)

        For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

        Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

        14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

        20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

        VIDEO CONTENT COURTESY OF THE BIBLE PROJECT