Christy

The Book of Genesis Ch. 12-50 Explained with Illustrations by The Bible Project

In part 2 of the illustrated explanation of Genesis, we will get an overview of the key people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. God promises to bless Abraham’s family line, so the rest of Genesis explores the events of Abraham’s family. Genesis doesn’t gloss over things, either. It portrays flawed, sinful people, but it also depicts how God works in and among them, even at their worst.

This ought to be a great comfort to us because we know ourselves to be flawed, sinful people. There is hope for us, too, because just as God worked through Abraham’s family, He will work through us despite our weaknesses.

 

 

 

 

Download a Free Digital Copy of the Poster from the Video

These illustrated charts are so helpful, I encourage you to download a copy for personal study. It’s free! Courtesy of The Bible Project.

[button link=”https://thebibleproject.com/product/genesis-poster/” color=”purple” newwindow=”yes”] Genesis Poster[/button]

 

 

Video Transcript

0:04
The book of Genesis. In the first video we saw how chapters 1 through 11 set up
0:08
the basic storyline of the Bible. God has created all things and he makes humans
0:13
in His image to rule the world on his behalf. The humans choose sin and
0:18
rebellion and so the world spins out of control into violence and death all
0:22
leading up to the rebellion and scattering of the people in Babylon.
0:26
And so the big question is what is God going to do to rescue and redeem his world?
0:31
Well out of that scattering at Babylon, the author traces the genealogy of just one
0:36
family that leads eventually to a man named Abram, later known as Abraham.
0:42
And God’s promise to Abraham at the beginning of chapter 12 opens up a whole
0:46
new movement in the story. God calls Abraham to leave his home and go to the
0:49
land of Canaan which God says will become his one day. And in that land, God
0:54
promises to make Abraham into a great nation, to make his name great and bless him.
0:59
Now these promises are connected back to earlier parts of the book.
1:03
So Babylon had arrogantly tried to make a great name for itself and that didn’t go
1:09
very well. But God in his generosity is going to bestow a great name on this
1:14
no-name guy, Abraham, and God’s blessing of Abraham echoes all the way back to
1:20
that original blessing God gave humanity in the beginning. So the question is: “Why
1:24
is God going to blessed Abraham and his family?” And the last line of God’s
1:29
promise makes this clear: “So that all the families of the earth will find God’s
1:34
blessing in you.” Now this is key for understanding the whole rest of the
1:38
biblical story. God’s plan is to rescue and bless his rebellious world through
1:43
Abraham’s family and this is why the whole rest of the Old Testament story is
1:48
just going to focus on this one family,
1:50
eventually called the people of Israel. This is also why Israel will
1:54
later be called a kingdom of priests at Mount Sinai. God wants to use them to
1:58
show all of the other nations what he’s like and ultimately this is the promise
2:03
that gets picked up by the later biblical prophets and poets who say that
2:07
its fulfillment will come through Israel’s messianic king,
2:10
whose reign will bring justice and peace to all of the nations. Now at this
2:15
point of the story, none of that is clear.
2:18
You just have to keep reading and watch the promise develop.
2:21
And so the rest of the book focuses on Abraham and his family. First Abraham
2:25
himself, then his son Isaac and then his son Jacob and then Jacob’s twelve sons.
2:31
And the stories about each generation, they’re united by two main themes.
2:35
So first, each generation of Abraham’s family is marked by repeated failure.
2:40
They just keep making really bad decisions that mess up their lives and
2:44
put God’s promise in jeopardy.
2:46
However God remains faithful to them. He keeps rescuing them from themselves and
2:52
reaffirming his commitment to bless them and bless the nations through them
2:56
despite their failings. So the Abraham stories – God had promised Abraham huge
3:01
family – but on two different occasions he’s afraid for his life because other
3:05
men are attracted to his wife and so he denies that he’s even married to her,
3:09
which creates, of course, all of these problems. And not only that, Abraham and
3:14
his wife Sarah they can’t have children and so Sarah arranges for Abraham to
3:18
sleep with one of their servant girls, which also creates all of these problems
3:22
in the family. But each time God bales Abraham out and in chapters 15 and 17 God
3:28
even formalizes his promise to Abraham with an official commitment called
3:32
a covenant. This is a classic scene. God invites Abraham to look up at the night
3:37
stars and to count them and he says that’s how numerous your family’s going to be.
3:42
And despite all of the odds – having no kids and no way to have any at the
3:46
moment, Abraham looks up in the sky and simply trusts God’s promise. And God
3:52
responds by entering into a covenant with Abraham, promising that he will
3:57
become a father of many nations, that God’s blessing may come to the whole world.
4:02
And then God asked Abraham to mark his family with a sign of the covenant:
4:06
circumcision of all the male boys in the family. This is a symbol to remind them
4:11
that the fruitfulness of their family is a gift from God. And so Abraham has lots
4:17
of kids eventually and he dies at a good old age.
4:20
Now the Jacob stories play out these themes even more dramatically. From birth,
4:24
Jacob lives up to the meaning of his name, which is “deceiver”. He cheats his
4:28
brother Esau out of his inheritance and blessing and he does it by deceiving his old
4:33
blind father no less, and then he just takes off. He goes on to take four
4:38
wives even though he really only loves one, Rachel and this creates all of these
4:43
rivalries in the family.
4:45
The only thing that humbles Jacob is being deceived by his uncle Laban, who
4:51
cheats him out of years of his life.
4:53
The tables have finally turned. And so it’s a humbled Jacob that returns to his homeland.
4:58
In a very strange story Jacob ends up wrestling with God as he demands that
5:05
God bless him. Some things never really change, do they? However, God honors his
5:10
determination and he passes Abraham’s blessing on to him and he renamed Jacob
5:15
as Israel, which means “wrestles with God.” Now it’s this last part of the book the
5:21
story of Jacob sons where all the themes come to a head. Jacob loves his second to
5:26
youngest son Joseph more than any of the others and he gives him a special jacket.
5:30
And the 10 older sons come to hate Joseph and so they kidnap him and
5:34
they plan to kill him, but instead they decide to just sell him into slavery in
5:39
Egypt where he ends up in prison. Talk about family failure. But God is with
5:45
Joseph and He orchestrates Joseph’s release from prison and Pharaoh ends up
5:50
elevating Joseph to second in command over all of Egypt. And so Joseph saves
5:55
the nation of Egypt during a famine and he also ends up saving his brothers and
5:59
his family from starving to death. And so once again we can see the folly and the
6:04
sin of Abraham’s family is met with God’s faithfulness, who subverts even the
6:10
evil of the brothers into an occasion to save life. And this is actually what
6:15
Joseph says right near the end of the book. He says to his brother’s, “You planned
6:19
this for evil but God planned it for good, to save many lives.” Now these words
6:26
are strategically placed at the end of the book because they summarize not only
6:30
the story of Joseph and his brothers, but the book as a whole.
6:33
From Genesis 3 onward, humans keep acting selfishly and doing evil but
6:39
this God does not going to leave his world to its own devices. He remains
6:43
faithful and determined to bless people despite their failures. You can see this
6:48
especially in how that mysterious promise about the descendant of the
6:51
woman gets developed throughout the book. So remember Genesis 3? God promised
6:56
that this wounded Victor would come and crush the snake and defeat evil at its source.
7:01
And the author then connects this promise directly to the line of Abraham.
7:06
This is a part of how God’s gonna bring his blessing to the nations. Now from
7:11
Abraham this promise gets connected to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. And this is how.
7:16
In an extremely important poem in chapter 49, an aging Jacob, he’s on his
7:22
deathbed, he wants to bless his twelve sons and when he comes to Judah, Jacob
7:27
predicts that Judah will become the tribe of Israel’s royal leaders and that
7:31
one day a king will come who will command the obedience of all the nations
7:36
and fulfill God’s promise to restore the garden blessing to all of the world.
7:41
And then after this Jacob dies and later Joseph dies too. So the growing family
7:47
remains in Egypt and so the book of Genesis ends with all of these future
7:53
hopes and promises left hanging and undeveloped. And it forces you to turn
7:57
the page to see how it’s all going to turn out. But for now that’s the book of Genesis.
Christy

The Book of Genesis Ch. 1-11 Explained with Illustrations by The Bible Project

You’re probably familiar with at least some of the contents of the Book of Genesis, but do you know how each of the parts relate to the overall scheme of what God is doing in the world? Most of us have a difficult time seeing the big picture of things happening in the Bible.

Fortunately, the guys at The Bible Project have put together a great explanation of Genesis. And it includes an illustrated chart!

 

 

 

Download a Free Digital Copy of the Poster from the Video

These illustrated charts are so helpful, I encourage you to download a copy for personal study. It’s free! Courtesy of The Bible Project.

[button link=”https://thebibleproject.com/product/genesis-poster/” color=”purple” newwindow=”yes”] Genesis Poster[/button]

 

Video Transcript

0:03
The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible and it’s storyline divides into two main parts
0:09
There’s chapters 1-11, which tell the story of God and the whole world, and then there’s chapters 12-50
0:15
which zoom in and tell the story of God and just one man, Abraham, and then his family.
0:20
And these two parts are connected by a hinge story at the beginning of chapter 12.
0:25
And this design, it gives us a clue as to how to understand the message of the book as a whole and how it
0:30
introduces the story of the whole Bible. So the book begins with God taking the disorder and the
0:36
darkness described in the second sentence of the Bible and God brings out of it order and beauty and
0:42
goodness and he makes out of it a world where life can flourish. And God makes these creatures called humans
0:48
or “adam,” in Hebrew. He makes them in his image, which has to do with their role and purpose in God’s world.
0:56
So humans are made to be reflections of God’s character out into the world.
1:01
And they’re appointed as God’s representatives to rule his world on his behalf, which in context
1:07
means to harness all its potential, to care for it, and make it where even more life can flourish.
1:14
God blesses the humans. It’s a key word in this book. And he gives them a garden, a place from which they
1:20
begin starting to build this new world. Now the key is that the humans have a choice about how they’re
1:26
going to go about building this world and that’s represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
1:31
Up till now, God has provided and defined what is good and what is not good. But now God is giving humans the
1:38
dignity and the freedom of a choice: Are they going to trust God’s definition of good and evil or are they
1:44
going to seize autonomy and define good and evil for themselves? And the stakes are really high.
1:49
To rebel against God is to embrace death because you’re turning away from the giver of life himself.
1:56
This is represented by the Tree of Life. And so in chapter 3, a mysterious figure, a snake, enters into the story.
2:03
The snake’s given no introduction other than it’s a creature that God made.
2:08
And it becomes clear that it’s a creature in rebellion against God and it wants to lead the humans into rebellion and their death.
2:15
The snake tells a different story about the tree and the choice.
2:19
It says that seizing the knowledge of good and evil are not going to bring death and that it’s actually the
2:25
way to life and becoming like God themselves. Now the irony of this is tragic because we know the humans
2:31
are already like God–they were made to reflect God’s image. But instead of trusting God, the humans seize autonomy,
2:38
they take the knowledge of good and evil for themselves, and in an instant the whole story
2:44
spirals out of control. The first casualty is human relationships. The man and the woman
2:49
they suddenly realize how vulnerable they are. Now they can’t even trust each other. And so they make clothes
2:54
and they hide their bodies from one another. The second casualty is that intimacy between God and humans is
3:01
lost. So they go, run, and hide from God. And then when God finds them, they start this game of
3:07
blame-shifting about who rebelled first. Now right here this story stops and there’s a series of short poems
3:13
where God declares to the snake, and then to the humans, the tragic consequences of their actions.
3:19
God first tells the snake that despite it’s apparent victory, it is destined for defeat, to eat dust.
3:26
God promises that one day a seed, or a descendant, will come from the woman, who’s going to deliver a lethal strike to the snakes head.
3:35
Which sounds like great news, but this victory is going to come with a cost because the snake, too,
3:40
will deliver a lethal strike to the descendant’s heal as it’s being crushed.
3:45
It’s a very mysterious promise of this wounded victor. But in the flow of the story so far, you see that
3:52
this is an act of God’s grace. The humans, they’ve just rebelled. And what does God do?
3:56
He promises to rescue them. But this doesn’t erase the consequences of the humans’ decision.
4:02
So God informs them that now every aspect of their life together–at home, in the field–it’s going to be
4:09
fraught with grief and pain because of the rebellion, all leading to their death.
4:15
From here, the story then spirals downward. Chapters 3-11, they trace the widening ripple effect
4:21
of the rebellion and of human relationships fracturing at every level.
4:26
So there’s the story of two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain is so jealous of his brother that he wants to murder him.
4:32
And God warns him not to give in to the temptation but he does anyway. He murders him in the field.
4:37
So Cain then goes on to build a city where violence and oppression reign. And this is all epitomized in this story
4:44
of Lamech. He’s the first man in the Bible to have more than one wife. He’s accumulating them like property.
4:50
And then he goes on to sing a short song about how he’s more violent and vengeful than Cain ever was.
4:57
After this we get an odd story about the “sons of God, ” which could refer to evil, angelic beings,
5:04
or it could refer to ancient kings who claimed that they descended from the gods.
5:10
And like Lamech, they acquired as many wives as they wanted and they produced the Nephilim, these great warriors of old.
5:17
Whichever view is right, the point is that humans are building kingdoms that fill God’s world with violence and even more corruption.
5:25
In response, we are told that God is broken with grief, humanity is ruining his good world and they’re ruining each other.
5:32
And so out of a passion to protect the goodness of his world, he washes it clean of humanity’s evil with a great flood.
5:39
But he protects one blameless human–Noah, and his family. And he commissions him as a new Adam.
5:46
He repeats the divine blessing and commissions him to go out into the world. And so our hopes are really high
5:52
but then Noah fails too. and also in a garden. He goes and he plants a vineyard and he gets drunk out of his mind.
5:59
And then one of his sons, Ham, does something shameful to his father in the tent. And so, here we have our new “adam,” naked and ashamed,
6:08
just like the first. And the downward spiral begins again. It all leads to the foundation of the city of Babylon.
6:15
The people of ancient Mesopotamia, they come together around this new technology they have–the brick.
6:21
And they can make cities and towers bigger and faster than anybody’s ever done before. And they want to build
6:26
a new kind of tower that will reach up to the gods and they will make a great name for themselves.
6:32
It’s an image of human rebellion and arrogance. It’s the garden rebellion now writ large.
6:39
And so God humbles their pride and scatters them. Now this is a diverse group of stories but you can see
6:47
they’re all exploring the same basic point: God keeps giving humans the chance to do the right thing
6:54
with his world and humans keep ruining it. These stories are making a claim that we live in a good world that we have turned bad–
7:03
that we’ve all chosen to define good and evil for ourselves and so we all contribute
7:08
to this world of broken relationships, leading to conflict, and violence, and ultimately death.
7:15
But there’s hope. God promised that one day a descendant would come–
7:20
the wounded victor who will defeat evil at its source. And so despite humanity’s evil, God is determined to bless and rescue his world.
7:29
And so the big question is, of course, “What is God going to do?” And the next story, the hinge, offers the answer.
7:36
But for now, that’s what Genesis 1-11 is all about.
Christy

The Book of Genesis Overview – Part 2 of 2 by The Bible Project

God makes a promise to a man named Abram that all nations of the earth will be blessed through his family. The second half of the book of Genesis follows this man’s family for four generations.

Discover the thread that God wove through each generation of this family (hint: a promise). It’s all explained in this illustrated video by The Bible Project.

 

 

 

 

Video Transcript

0:02
Jon: We’re walking through the book of Genesis which is made up of these two main parts.
0:06
Tim: In the first part begins in the Garden where we watched humanity spiral
0:10
downward in self-destruction and it ends in the Tower of Babel where
0:14
a rebellious humanity is scattered by God.
0:16
Jon: Then the second part Genesis zooms in and focuses on just one family
0:21
Tim: And right in the middle is this story that links the two parts of Genesis
0:25
together and helps us
0:27
understand what the whole book is all about.
0:30
Jon: So how do we get from the Tower of Babel to the story here in the middle?
0:34
Tim: Well after the scattering at Babel there’s this genealogy
0:37
and it follows one of the tribes all the way down to this one guy named Abram.
0:42
Jon: You probably know him as Abraham.
0:45
Tim: And God starts making all these promises to Abraham
0:47
like He’s going to bless him and give him a ton of kids and He says that
0:51
through him and his family all the nations of the earth are now going to find God’s blessing.
0:57
Basically God is trying to restore humanity back to the goodness of the Garden
1:02
into His original intentions for the world. So it’s like His rescue plan for humanity.
1:07
That’s why the whole second half of Genesis is about this one family.
1:12
And so you have Abraham
1:14
and then he has a son Isaac who has Jacob and then Jacob has twelve sons.
1:19
And to each generation God renews His promise
1:22
to bless them and all nations through them
1:25
Jon: So because of this promise to use this family to rescue the world
1:29
it’s pretty easy to read these stories as examples of how to be a good person.
1:34
Tim: But actually, for the most part, this family is totally dysfunctional.
1:38
So, for example, let’s go back to Abraham.
1:41
This whole story is about God giving him and his wife Sarah a family.
1:45
But two different times he basically gives Sarah away
1:50
to other men by denying that she’s even his wife.
1:53
And then Sarah gets impatient about having a son so she makes
1:56
Abraham sleep with her serving girl which then causes all of these other problems in the family.
2:02
Jon: So they get really old
2:04
and you begin to think that there’s no way they’re going to have a kid of their own.
2:07
But then, miraculously, they do. It’s Isaac.
2:10
Tim: And Isaac he has two sons: Esau and Jacob
2:14
and it seems like things are going pretty good.
2:16
Jon: But, Jacob, the younger brother wants the family’s inheritance,
2:20
which belongs to Esau the older brother,
2:21
so he devises a plan where he’s gonna steal it from his father Isaac who
2:26
at this point the story is now old and blind.
2:29
Tim: Which who does that? It’s horrible stealing from your blind father.
2:33
Jon: Yeah and then he just takes off.
2:35
Tim: So Jacob goes on from there to have twelve sons, a big family.
2:39
But, Jacob loves his eleventh son, Joseph
2:43
way more than all the others and so he gives him this special technicolor
2:46
dream-coat and his brothers, because of this, come to hate him.
2:50
Jon: So much so that they plan on killing him.
2:53
Tim: But they don’t. They, instead, just sell them as a slave down in Egypt.
2:58
Jon: Now, while in Egypt, through this crazy series of events,
3:02
Joseph goes from being in a prison cell to becoming the second in command there.
3:06
Tim: And so later on that the whole Middle East falls into this food shortage
3:10
and Joseph’s brothers they come down to Egypt looking for food.
3:14
And then, when they get there, who should they find as the ruler of the whole land?
3:19
Jon: It’s Joseph, that guy they sold into slavery.
3:23
But, he actually saves them from starving to death
3:26
Tim: And so here you have it: these are the great grandchildren of
3:30
Abraham who have done this heinous act to their brother
3:33
but God has transformed to their evil into something good.
3:37
Jon: And that’s exactly what Joseph says here in the last paragraph of the entire book.
3:41
He says, “You guys planned all this for evil
3:44
but God planned it for good to save people’s lives.”
3:48
Tim: Now these words they conclude the book because they
3:51
actually summarize the message of the whole story so far.
3:54
Humans keep choosing evil and we are thinking they’re
3:58
screwing up God’s plan but He keeps turning their evil back into good
4:02
and somehow He’s going to use
4:05
this family to restore humanity back to the Garden.
4:09
Jon: So that’s the book of Genesis but we still don’t know
4:14
how exactly He’s going to use this family to bring us back to the Garden.
4:17
Tim: Well yeah, but this is just the first book so that’s what the rest of the Bible
4:21
sets out to answer.
4:23
Hey there, I’m Tim
4:24
and this is Jon.
4:25
We believe the best way to understand the Bible is to get a handle
4:28
on its overall storyline
4:30
as well as the individual design of every book.
4:33
If you’re wondering where we make all these videos we make them in Portland, Oregon
4:37
we actually share some space with the creative agency called Sincerely Truman
4:41
who serves coffee, free coffee, every morning so look us up and come by and have a cup.
4:46
We’re a nonprofit so if you find these videos valuable we would love your support.
4:50
Go to jointhebibleproject.com you can download full resolution
4:54
versions of the video you could download study guides for each video
4:57
its all for free at jointhebibleproject.com
Christy

The Book of Genesis Overview – Part 1 of 2 by The Bible Project

The Book of Genesis can be broken up in two parts. The first part, chapters 1-11, trace the story of God and the whole world from creation all the way to the tower of Babel.

Enjoy this animated explanation of Genesis created by the team at The Bible Project.

 

 

 

 

Video Transcript

0:02
>> Jon: The first book of the Bible is a book you have probably heard of, it’s called Genesis.
0:06
>> Tim: Genesis comes from a Hebrew word, it’s pronounced rasheet.
0:11
It just means beginning.
0:12
>> Jon: Now there’s a lot of stories from the book of Genesis,
0:14
and it’s easy to just pull out a specific story
0:17
and try to tell you what it might mean. But we think the best way to understand this
0:22
book, is to look at the book as a whole
0:25
and show you how the whole thing is designed.
0:28
>> Tim: The book is designed to fall into two main parts.
0:33
You have chapters 1-11, which is telling the story of God and the whole world
0:37
and then you have the second part which is about God and Abraham’s family
0:41
as chapters 12-50, and how the two of those parts relate,
0:45
that’s where you find the message of the book.
0:47
>> Jon: OK, so lets start back at the beginning. The first part of Genesis begins with the
0:52
creation story where God creates everything
0:55
>> Tim: And how exactly that happens of course that’s where all the debates come. But,
0:59
He takes a dark watery chaos and He turns it into a beautiful garden where humans can
1:05
flourish.
1:06
>> Jon: That sounds nice.
1:07
>> Tim: That does sound nice. In fact seven different times God says of all that He’s
1:13
made that it’s good
1:14
>> Jon: And this is where we meet the first human characters in the Bible, Adam and Eve.
1:19
>> Tim: They’re both individual characters but also representative. Adam is the Hebrew
1:23
word for humanity and Eve is the Hebrew word for life and God creates them in his image,
1:30
in other words, Humanity reflects or is meant to reflect the creativity, the goodness, and
1:36
character of the creator out into the world that He’s made. And they’re supposed to reproduce,
1:41
and make cultures, and neighborhoods, and art, and gardens, and everything else. But,
1:46
He gives them a moral choice about how they are going to build this world. And this is
1:53
what the tree of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” is all about.
1:55
>> Jon: And He tells them, “don’t eat of this tree or you will die.” What’s that
2:02
all about?
2:02
>> Tim: Up till now God has been defining and providing what is good.  And so God is
2:09
the one with the knowledge of good and evil.  But this tree represents a choice:  will
2:15
the human’s trust God’s definition of good and evil, or are they going to seize
2:20
the opportunity to try and define good and evil for themselves.
2:23
>> Jon: And Adam and Eve eat the fruit.
2:26
>> Tim: This is the core, biblical explanation for that concept of sin, that desire to call
2:33
the shots myself its the inward turn of the human heart to do what’s good for me and
2:39
my tribe even if it’s at the expense of you and your tribe.
2:43
>> Jon: And the problem is humans are horrible at defining good and evil without God and
2:48
so now that Humanity’s made this choice, things get really…
2:52
>> Tim: …really bad. So Genesis 3 through 11 is like tracing this downward spiral of
3:00
all Humanity. So adam and eve, they can’t trust each other anymore. and so theres a
3:04
little story about how they were naked and felt fine about it beforehand, but now they
3:08
feel shameful because all the sudden Adam’s definition of good and evil might be different
3:13
than Eve’s. And so they hide from each other.
3:15
>> Jon: And there’s another story of temptation. Cain is jealous of his brother Abel, and he
3:20
gives in and kills him.
3:22
>> Tim: there’s a story right after Cain about a guy named Lamech. All we know about
3:26
Lamech is that he accumulates wives like property and he sings songs about he’s a more violent
3:33
vengeful person than Cain ever was and he’s proud of it.
3:36
>> Jon: Things get so bad with the human race, that we see God decide to just wipe us out.
3:43
>> Tim: Yeah, we typically think of the flood story as about God being angry, but it actually
3:48
begins with God’s sadness and grief about the state of his world. So out of the passion
3:54
to preserve the goodness of his world, He washes it clean with the flood.
3:59
>> Jon: But there’s a glimmer of hope. He chooses Noah and his whole family and saves
4:04
them on this boat.
4:06
>> Tim: Don’t forget about the animals
4:08
>> Jon: Right. And the animals. So Noah and his family are going to reboot all of Humanity.
4:14
He must be a pretty great guy.
4:16
>> Tim: But this is the story most people don’t know because it’s kind of weird.
4:20
Noah gets off the boat, and plants a vineyard, and gets totally plastered, and then something
4:26
sketchy happens in his tent with his son. It’s a tragic story.
4:30
>> Jon: So from here, Humanity grows again and things are as bad as before.  And the
4:35
last story is the famous story of the Tower of Babel.
4:39
>> Tim: In this story you have all of the nations uniting together to use this new technology
4:44
they have: the brick. They want to make a name for themselves, build a big city with
4:49
this huge tower that will reach up to the gods. But God knows that this city will be
4:56
a nightmare, so in His mercy, He scatters them. All of these stories underline the same
5:03
basic idea: when humans seize autonomy from God and define good for themselves, it results
5:10
in a world of tragedy, and death.
5:12
>> Jon: And all of this leaves you wondering, is there any hope for humanity.
5:16
>> Tim: Yes, yeah there is. It’s the very next story that answers that question; it’s
5:21
the beginning of God’s mission to rescue and restore his world.
Christy

An Animated Explanation of God’s Holiness by The Bible Project

The concept of holiness can seem difficult to grasp. Outside of the Bible, we don’t talk about things being “holy” very often. Let’s take a moment to discover what the Bible really says about holiness. The concept appears from Genesis to Revelation, so it must be important. This illustrated video by The Bible Project explains the theme of holiness in the Bible.

 

 

 

 

Video Transcript

0:01
Jon: You’ve probably heard the word “holy” before
0:04
or at least sang it in a church song once or twice.
0:07
And for most people, this idea is really just connected to being a morally good person…
0:11
So… God is ‘holy’ because he’s morally perfect.
0:14
Tim: Yeah, that is part of it…
0:15
but in the Bible the idea of ‘holiness’ is even bigger and more rich.
0:19
What it’s really describing is how God is the creative force behind the whole universe.
0:24
He’s the one and only being with the power to make a world full of such beauty and life.
0:30
And so all these abilities they may God utterly unique, which is the meaning of the word ‘holy’.
0:36
A helpful way to think about God’s holiness is by using the sun as a metaphor.
0:41
The sun is unique, at least within our solar system,
0:44
And its really powerful. Its the source of all this beautiful life on our planet.
0:48
And so you could say that the sun is ‘holy’.
0:51
And you can actually take this metaphor even further
0:53
in that the whole area around the sun is also ‘holy’.
0:57
Jon: Yeah because the closer you get to the sun the more intense it gets.
1:01
Tim: yeah, exactly. So that very power and goodness that generates all this life is also dangerous.
1:08
I mean the sun, if you get too close, will annihilate you.
1:12
And in the same way there’s this paradox at the heart of God’s own holiness
1:16
because if you’re impure his presence is dangerous to you
1:20
and not because it’s bad, but because its so good.
1:23
And so the first time we see this paradox of God’s holiness, it’s in the story of Moses and the burning bush.
1:29
Jon: So God tells Moses to take off his sandals because he’s standing on holy ground.
1:34
And Moses covers his face in fear and God says
1:37
“hey don’t come any closer”. Its intense. likely that intensity of God’s holiness
1:40
Tim: It’s actually that intensity of God’s holiness that’s explored even more in the stories of Israel’s temple
1:46
which was the main place where God’s holy presence was located
1:49
and at the center the temple was this room called the Most Holy Place
1:53
it’s the hotspot of God’s presence.
1:55
and whether you’re an Israelite living in the land around the temple
1:59
or a priest working right in the temple, you are in proximity to God’s holy presence.
2:04
which is dangerous.
2:06
Jon: Yeah, this is a problem. So how is it supposed to work?
2:09
Tim: Well in the Bible the solution is that you need to become “pure”.
2:13
Jon: So like being Morally Pure?
2:15
Tim: Yeah, and that’s easy enough to understand…
2:17
…but the Bible spends a lot of time talking about another kind of purity
2:21
being Ritually Pure
2:23
which is a state where you separate yourself from anything related to death
2:27
like touching things like diseased skin, or dead bodies, or even certain bodily fluids.
2:32
all these make you impure.
2:35
And becoming ritually impure isn’t necessarily sinful.
2:38
What’s wrong is waltzing into God’s presence when you’re in an impure state.
2:42
And so that’s why God gave the Israelites very clear instructions for knowing when they were impure…
2:48
steps to become pure, so that they could go into the temple again.
2:51
Jon: So that’s what the book of Leviticus is about.
2:53
Tim: Right. But it doesn’t stop there. This idea keeps developing
2:57
So later in the scriptures we find this really interesting story by a prophet named Isaiah.
3:02
And he has this crazy vision where he’s in the temple
3:05
and he’s right in God’s presence. He’s totally terrified.
3:08
Jon: Yeah. He knows the rules. He shouldn’t even be in there.
3:11
And he’s worried about being destroyed.
3:13
Tim: And then this crazy creature called a Seraphim.
3:16
Jon: Yeah, that is a crazy creature.
3:18
Tim: Totally. So it flies over with a hot coal.
3:22
And then it sears Isaiah’s lips with the coal and says something really weird…
3:27
“Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for.”
3:31
Jon: So this burning coal somehow makes Isaiah pure.
3:35
Tim: Yeah, its remarkable
3:36
because normally if you touch something impure it transfers its impurity to you.
3:42
But now here’s this new idea where you have this coal,
3:45
this very holy and pure object, and it touches Isaiah
3:47
and it transfers its purity to him.
3:50
Isaiah is not destroyed by God’s holiness, he’s transformed by it.
3:55
I mean the implications of this are just huge.
3:57
But there’s one more development, this time from another prophet, Ezekiel.
4:01
And he has this vision where he’s standing at the temple
4:04
and he sees water trickling out from it.
4:06
And then that water turns into a stream
4:09
and then a grows into a deep river that starts flowing through the desert
4:12
leaving this trail of green trees behind it.
4:15
And then it flows into the Dead Sea making everything fresh and alive.
4:20
Jon: So, instead of becoming pure first and then going into the temple…
4:23
…here God’s holiness comes out from the temple making things pure bringing them to life.
4:28
What does it all mean?
4:30
Tim: So, we don’t know. Until we meet this man Jesus.
4:34
And he claims that he’s fulfilling all of these ancient visions but in surprising new ways.
4:39
So Jesus, he went around touching people who are impure…
4:44
… people with skin diseases, a woman with chronic bleeding, or dead people…
4:49
and when he touches them, their impurity should transfer over to Jesus …
4:53
… but instead, Jesus’ purity transfers to them and actually heals their bodies.
4:59
Jon: Jesus is like that holy coal in Isaiah’s vision.
5:02
Tim: Right. And Jesus claimed that he was the human embodiment of God’s own holiness.
5:09
and that he and his followers were now God’s temple
5:12
so that through them God’s holy presence would go out into the world
5:16
and bring life and healing and hope.
5:19
And so this is why Jesus described his followers as having streams of living water flowing out of them.
5:24
Jon: So this is our part of the story where we find ourselves now, but where is it all heading?
5:30
Tim: so the last pages of the Bible end with a final vision about God’s holiness…
5:35
This time it’s by a guy named John.
5:37
And in his vision we see the whole world made completely new.
5:41
The entire earth has become God’s temple.
5:45
And Ezekiel’s river is there flowing out of God’s presence,
5:49
immersing all of creation,
5:50
removing all impurity and bringing everything back to life.