Covenant Structure in Genesis 2

The first chapters of the Word of God have a poetic rhythm. This is used to discredit their accuracy as historical narrative, but the truth is that these same rhythms continue far beyond the book of Genesis. In fact, the later texts shed light on the frustratingly succinct account of the Creation and the Fall.

Although the word “Covenant” is not used in the Bible until God speaks to Noah, theologians classify the events in Genesis 2 as the first Covenant in history. Although the word is not used, the events in Eden definitely follow the same shape as the later Covenants.1See Ray Sutton’s That You May Prosper and my own Bible Matrix II: The Covenant Key. Without an awareness of the purpose of biblical structure, the arrangement of the text can seem quite random in places. But once we became familiar with God’s architecture and its literary expression, the echoes and images of events both past and future are breathtaking.

TRANSCENDENCE

Creation (Genesis 2:4-7): The Lord creates Adam, and the structure of the text is not only a miniature of the cosmic Temple process in Genesis 1, it is prefigures later texts concerning Tabernacle and Temple. Corresponding to Day 1, Adam is to be the light which lightens every man (John 1:9). (Sabbath)

HIERARCHY

Division (Genesis 2:8-9):The Lord plants a Garden-sanctuary and places Adam in it. It contains two trees which represent priestly obedience and kingly wisdom. Day 2: Created from the dust of the dry land, it is Adam’s ministry as mediator between heaven and earth which will keep apart the waters above and below. (Passover)

ETHICS (in three parts, Priest, King, Prophet)2The three roles in the Triune Office represent steps in the qualification of the Man as Mediator for all Creation, thus they are the Forming, Filling, Future pattern found in Genesis 1 expressed in legal roles.

Ascension (Genesis 2:10-14): Eden brings life to the world with four rivers whose names all refer to growth and abundance.3The four names may mean Increase, Bursting Forth, Rapid and Fruitfulness. Rivers flow downhill, so Eden is the original “high place.” Day 3: As the dry land rose from the deep, so this mountain of God rises to heaven as the first altar, and Adam is to be the first priest-king (like Noah, Melchizedek, Job, Jethro and Christ). However, like Israel in later history, his dominion on earth as king depends upon his prior submission to heaven as priest. (Firstfruits)

Testing (Genesis 2:15-17): The Lord places Adam in the Garden and puts the keys to life and death in his hand. Prefiguring Israel’s food laws, the “kingdom” tree is temporarily prohibited until Adam is qualified to rule. Day 4: The sun, moon and stars rule in heaven, and Adam is promised rule on the earth. Genesis ends as it begins, but with a young man who continually submits to the Spirit of God until he rules over all the kings of the world through his serpentine wisdom with priestly grain. (Pentecost)

Maturity (Genesis 2:18-19): Adam is introduced to his subjects, and they are “mustered” around the sanctuary in the way Israel’s troops were mustered at the Feast of Trumpets. Day 5: Swarms/Hosts (Trumpets)

OATH/SANCTIONS

Conquest (Genesis 2: 20-23): Now speaking for God in a preliminary way in the Garden, Adam names all the subjects with whom he shares earthly breath, those in the heavens and those on the earth. Their continued life depends upon him. As the microcosmic Temple he will represent them all before God. But he is alone, and must die a priestly death as the son of God that there might be sons of man. The first recorded human words are an oath which, in Hebrew, not only follows the five-fold (vertical) Covenant pattern but prefigures in its “singular-to-plural” (horizontal) expressions the architecture of the Ten Commandments. Day 6: Animals and Man. (Atonement, The Day of Coverings: High Priest and sacrifices mediate between heaven and earth)

SUCCESSION

Glorification (Genesis 2:24-25): Until the coming of the promised Seed, Succession always concerned physical offspring. This sequence ends with the culmination of physical glory in marriage. At this point, Adam is truly the firstfruits lifted up from the Land and presented in the Sanctuary. Like the fruit on the trees, he consisted of seed, flesh and skin. But one thing remained. Skin is a natural covering, but Adam required a supernatural covering, a dazzling robe of glory whiter than anything on earth (Mark 9:3). To receive that, he would have to do battle with a dragon. Day 7: Rest, Rule and Representation (imaging) of God to the nations. (Booths)

 

An understanding of Covenant-literary structure helps us to make sense of these strange events and the unusual ordering of the texts which communicate them: they serve as the liturgical and architectural blueprint for the rest of biblical history.

This understanding might also solve the mystery of why the word “Covenant” is not found in the Scriptures until God speaks to Noah. The answer must lie in the fact that the first two men with whom God entered into Covenant—Noah and Abraham—had already been found faithful, and were thus given the priesthood, the kingdom and the prophecy, all Creation wrapped up in a single Adam. After his failure in the Garden, we never hear another word from our first father. A Covenant which truly encompassed “all flesh” rather than microcosmic substitutes would have to wait for a better Adam.

Originally published at Theopolis Institute.

References   [ + ]

1. See Ray Sutton’s That You May Prosper and my own Bible Matrix II: The Covenant Key.
2. The three roles in the Triune Office represent steps in the qualification of the Man as Mediator for all Creation, thus they are the Forming, Filling, Future pattern found in Genesis 1 expressed in legal roles.
3. The four names may mean Increase, Bursting Forth, Rapid and Fruitfulness.

Jacob’s Tabernacle

Sacred architecture was always a form of promise, a model of what was yet to come. All of the furnitures in the Tent of Meeting found their fulfilment in the offices and ministry of the people of God, and eventually in Christ. So, it should not surprise us to find that the birth order and names of the twelve sons of Jacob, as his “house,” follow the pattern of the cosmic dwelling established in Genesis 1.

Beauty and Power

A testimonial from a reader who is a structural engineer:

I just wanted to communicate to you my appreciation for your work and to encourage you that it has an effect.

At this point, I cannot even remember what crooked path led me to your stuff, but I have read Bible Matrix I and II and just finished God’s Kitchen.

I have always had an appetite for reading and studying Scripture, even as a youngster (I am 59 now). Reading your books has opened up a whole new vista and increased my appreciation for the beauty and power of the Word.

I cannot say that I have a thorough grasp on what you are communicating, but I stumble across the matrix regularly and it has affected how I live life, generally. My only regret is that it has taken me this long to find your books. I trust God’s sovereignty, but I wish that I were able to lead my children into this understanding. They are now on their own, but I plan to do what I can to introduce your work to them. (Both of my sons-in-law are artists, so perhaps they will catch on more quickly than I.)

I am planning on introducing your work to friends that I feel like are ready. I have explained the seven point matrix in an attempt to help several people understand why they might be facing various trials. I find that they are encouraged to encounter a Biblical structure that helps them understand the purpose and provides hope.

I am going to go back through the three books that I have already read and I am looking forward to what comes next.

Thanks again for your work. God bless you in your efforts. I think that these books will have an impact for God’s Kingdom long after you and I are no longer here.

Mark Batten
San Diego CA

You can find all my books here or register to read them in the online library.

God-In-A-Box

For a Covenant, or a Covenant lawsuit, to be legal, the court of God requires the testimony of a minimum of two witnesses. This was true under the Old Covenant, and it is also true under the New.

“On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.” (Deuteronomy 17:6)

Everlasting Arms

The Triune Office in Exodus 17:8-16

“The Triune Office” is a fancy but handy term for the roles of Priest, King and Prophet in Scripture. These three roles are symbolised for us in both the rite of sacrifice (flesh, fire, smoke) and the three furnitures in the Holy Place (Table, Lampstand, Incense Altar). If we have eyes to see, both these patterns can be found in the architecture of Israel’s victory over Amalek. What is even more interesting is its demonstration of the difference between the Old Covenant and the New.

Firstly, the passage follows the matrix pattern:

TRANSCENDENCE
Creation: Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.
HIERARCHY
Division: So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”
ETHICS
Ascension: So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
Testing: Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Maturity: But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side.
OATH/SANCTIONS
Conquest: So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
SUCCESSION
Glorification: Head/Heaven
Then the Lord said (Transcendence)
to Moses, (Hierarchy)
(Ethics)
“Write this as a memorial
in a book
and recite it in the ears of Joshua,
that I will utterly blot out
the memory of Amalek (Sanctions)
from under heaven.” (Succession)
Glorification: Body/Earth
And Moses built an altar (Creation/Initiation)
and called the name of it, (Delegation)
The Lord Is My Banner, (Presentation – PRIEST)
saying,
“A hand upon the throne of the Lord! (Purification – KING)
The Lord will have war (Transformation – PROPHET)
with Amalek (Vindication)
from generation to generation (Representation)

Now that we have parsed the structure, I want you to notice the placement of Moses, Aaron and Hur at Ascension, and then again at Maturity.

Moses is, of course, the Prophet, and Aaron is the Priest. Hur, from the tribe of Judah, represents the coming King. At Ascension, the three go up the hill and stand there as three related but divided offices. Priesthood and kingdom, Church and State, are in place but not united. One might say that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. The body is a body of flesh, divided by the sword and displayed on the Bronze Altar (the earth/Land).

It is not until Church and State are united in the enthroned Prophet (representing the Spirit of God incarnate in a glorified Man) that the office becomes indeed Triune, the Altar of Incense, a body of fragrant smoke reunited in heaven. Only once the body is united can the serpent be crushed.