The New Unger's Bible Handbook (Revised)

(Hardback - Apr 2005)
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A new edition featuring revised text and hundreds of color pictures, making this volume an indispensable guide to understanding the Bible.


  • SKU: 9780802490568
  • SKU10: 0802490565
  • Title: The New Unger's Bible Handbook
  • Qty Remaining Online: 29
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Date Published: Apr 2005
  • Edition Description: Revised
  • Pages: 751
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 3.66
  • Dimensions: 10.12" L x 7.14" W x 1.61" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Maps, Index, Illustrated
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Subject: Biblical Commentary - General

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One


The book of creation

Nature of the book. Genesis, 'the Book of Beginnings,' is the indispensable introduction to the entire Bible, the foundation of all revealed truth. The book takes its name from the title given to it by the Septuagint (Greek)Version, derived from the heading of its ten parts he biblos geneseos (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 37:2). The title of the book in the Hebrew is beeresit ('In the beginning').

1. The beginning of the earth as man's habitation

God. In the first phrase of revelation occurs the declaration of the existence of God, whose eternal being is assumed and asserted, and in no sense argued and defined. He is presented here as the infinite First Cause, the Originator and Creator of all things.

'In the Beginning.' Evangelical scholars have taken a variety of positions concerning the significance of the creation account in Gen 1: 1-2:3. The opening words of Genesis have been commonly assumed to refer to the original creation of the universe. Some scholars prefer, however, to envision a relative beginning, allowing events such as Satan's fall (cf. Ezk 28:13-14; Isa 14:12) and the geological ages of the earth to precede 1:1 or 1:2 (the Gap Theory).

The issue of a relative beginning (re-creation) principally revolves around three considerations: 1. Is the phrase, 'in the beginning,' absolute or relative? 2. Does the word 'create' (Heb. bara) possibly mean 'fashion' or re-create'? 3. How do Gen 1:1 and 1:2 fit together grammatically and chronologically (i.e., is it possible that a gap intervenes)?

The phrase, 'in the beginning', is construed by most Hebrew scholars as absolute. It should be noted though that the phrase, 'in the beginning' of John 1:1 antedates the 'in the beginning' of Gen 1:1 in any case.

The Hebrew term bara' has the basic meaning 'create' in distinction from the word yasar (to fashion, form). In most of its OT usages bara' speaks of 'creating something new' or 'bringing into existence' (cf. Isa 41:20; 43:1; Ezk 21:30; 28:13, 15). As a result, most exegetes argue thatbara' serves as testimony to God's ex nihilo (out of nothing) creation.

The phrase, 'Now the earth was formless and empty,' has been rendered, 'and the earth became .' to portray a chaotic visitation of divine judgment upon the original earth. To place a gap in 1:2 is untenable by the Hebrew text, which shows that all three clauses are circumstantial either to the main clause in 1:1 or that in 1:3. If a gap exists it must occur prior to 1:1 rather than after it. Gen 1:1-2 appear as a unit and serve as a summary introduction to the creative activity that follows. Although the gap theory framework seems to be declining in support, it does commend itself as a potential explanation for the fall of Satan and for the findings of modern science that suggest long geological ages in earth's prehistory.

Creation and the six days of Genesis 1. The six days of creation in Gen 1 can represent either (1) literal 24-hour days of creation, (2) literal 24-hour days of divine revelation of creation, (3) extended geological ages or epochs preparatory for the eventual occupancy of man, or (4) a revelatory framework to summarize God's creative activity, asserting that 'by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth .' (Col 1:16).

3-5. First day-light. The account of God's first creative acts contains several important affirmations. (1) God created by his word ('and God said'). The rest of Scripture echoes the power of God's creative word, culminating in the incarnate Word (Jn 1:1) who fulfills God's work of redemption. (2) The creation of light before the sun, moon, and stars (the agents of light) reminds us that light ultimately proceeds from God and only secondarily from His created 'lamps.' (3) The light also prefigures the 'light of God' come to earth in the person of Christ (Mt 4:16, Jn 1:3-9). (4) The state of Gen 1:3 is to be renewed in the New Jerusalem, where 'the city does not need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp' (Rev 21:23).

6-8. Second day-firmament. The second day involved the separation of the mixture of atmospheric waters from the terrestrial waters. The separation of the waters may well have resulted in vast amounts of subterranean and atmospheric waters (vapor) that remained in place until the cataclysm of the Flood.

9-13. Third day-land, sea, plants. After the separation from the atmospheric waters on the second day, the terrestrial waters were separated from the land to constitute the earth and to form the seas, making possible luxuriant plant and tree growth.

14-19. Fourth day-sun, moon, and stars. God now fills the universe He formed on the first day. These heavenly bodies (together with the vast galaxies in space) are now given responsibility as the source of light and heat on earth, Concerning the order of the creation that places light before the sun and stars, see the 'First Day'.

20-23. Fifth day-sea life and birds created. As God created the universe on the first day and filled it with the astral bodies on the fourth day, He filled the waters and atmosphere (created on the second day) on the fifth day, bringing forth fish and birds.

24-31. Sixth day-land life and man created. Man was created (not evolved) and appeared as the crown and goal of all God's creative activity with regard to the earth as man's special home. The expression 'Let us' (1:26) intimates the Triune God's counsel and activity in man's creation (cf. Jn 1:3; Col 1:16), as well as God's foreordained redemptive plan and purpose for man upon the earth (Eph 1:4-6). Man was given dominion over the earth.

2. Man in Eden 1-3. God's rest. God rested from His creative work of Gen 1 on the seventh day. This sabbath rest of God became the basis of the Mosaic Sabbath (Ex 20:11) and a type of the believer's rest in God's redemption to be realized in Christ. Elohim, the generic name of God, appears (1:1-2:3).

4-6. Edenic climate. The creative work of God is summarized and the prediluvian climate is described: 'but streams came up'. This passage may suggest that prior to the Flood the earth was watered by vapor from subterranean water (cf. Gen 7:11-12).

7. Man's creation. The creative act of 1:27 is here described in detail. YHWH (Yahweh, traditionally vocalized Jehovah, printed Lord), the redemptive name of Deity, is introduced in w. 4, 7, when man filled the scene and assumed control of the earth recreated for him. In His Jehovah character, God is introduced in special revelatory and redemptive relationship to man.

8-14. The Garden of Eden. It was provided for unfallen man, 8-9. Its location, 1014, was somewhere in the Tigris-Euphrates region, evidently in the easternmost end of the Fertile Crescent (the moonshaped rim of ancient civilization, with one point at Palestine-Syria and the other point in the lower Tigris-Euphrates Valley). The Hiddeqel is the ancient name of the Tigris River (Babylonian Idigla, Diglat). The Pishon and the Gihon were probably smaller channels that connected the Tigris and the Euphrates as ancient river beds. The accumulation of vast deposits of silt has changed the coastline of the Persian Gulf, pushing it farther out to sea.

A.H. Sayce and others located Eden near Eridu, anciently on the Persian Gulf (Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments). Friedrich Delitzsch (Wo Lag das Paradies?) placed it just N of Babylon where the Tigris and the Euphrates come close together. But changing topography renders any precise location now only a guess. It is significant, however, that both archaeology and the Bible concur that the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and the region immediately to the E of it (Breasted's Fertile Crescent) is indeed the cradle of civilization.

15-17. Man's testing in Eden. Created innocent, placed in a perfect environment, man was put under a simple test of obedience, to abstain from eating the fruit of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' The penalty for disobedience was death - immediate spiritual death (Mt 8:22; Eph 2:1-5), eventual physical death (Rom 5:12; 1 Cot 15:21-22). 'Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died' (Gen 5:5), and ever afterward death has 'reigned' in the fallen human family (Rom 5:14).

18-22. Man provided a companion. The Lord God declared that a sexless or unisexual race would not be good and enunciated His purpose to create 'a help suitable to man to be in his presence' (lit.), 'a helper suitable for him' (AV). Adam named the animals and birds; but these, although companions in a sense, were not suitable partners on the same physical, mental, moral and spiritual plane as he.

21-23. Woman created. (Cf. 1:27). The Lord God made woman from the man, and presented her to him. Only in this manner could man have 'a helper suitable for him.' Man is man by that spirit by which he differs from the beast. Gen 2:21-23 with 2:7 presents the details of man's creation in distinction to 1:26-27 which presents the general truth that man was created, not evolved, and that woman was created in man (issâ, because she was taken out of is, man).

24-25. Marriage instituted. The union of husband and wife prefigured the union of Christ and His church, the woman becoming a picture of the church as Christ's Bride (Eph 5:28-32; cf. Mt 19:5; 1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31).

3. The Fall Of Man

1. The Tempter. This verse introduces Satan, identified by subsequent Scripture (2 Cor 11:3, 14; Rev 12:9; 20:2), with his tool the Edenic serpent. Though the serpent (Satan) is presented here, many interpreters believe that he is introduced in Ezk 28:12-19 and Isa 14:12-14 where the king of Tyre and the nation of Babylon reflect the rise and fall of an exalted angelic being, Lucifer (Satan). The Edenic serpent (Satan's agent) was not a writhing serpent, which was the result of God's curse (Gen 3:14), but doubtless the most cunning and beautiful of God's animal creatures.

2-5. The woman tempted. Satan began by questioning God's word: 'Did God really say .?' then he denied its teaching: 'You will not surely die.' Finally he substituted his own gospel, the immanence of God: 'You will be like Elohim,' 5. The woman's fall involved the basic ingredients of temptation; (1) the lust of the flesh, 'the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food;' (2) the lust of the eyes, 'and pleasing to the eye;' (3) the pride of life, 'and also desirable for gaining wisdom' (cf. 1 Jn 2:16).

6-7. The Fall. The woman was deceived, but Adam sinned knowingly (1 Tim 2:14-15). Both lost their innocence, became conscious of sin and shame, and tried to cover this guilt and nakedness by some form of human effort (works).

8-13. The Lord God seeks fallen man. God's Sabbath rest of creation was broken by sin, 8, and He took the first steps in His new work of redemption to rescue fearful, ashamed, alienated, and confused fallen man. Adam hid from God, because of a change in him, not in God, His self-provided clothing seemed all right till God appeared and then it was found to be worthless. Similarly, sinners attempt to clothe themselves with their own righteousness.

14-15. The curse of sin in the serpent. Satan's tool, the serpent, was cursed and transformed from what probably was an upright, beautiful, intelligent animal to a revolting, crawling snake, 14. But in connection with the serpent not only was the deepest mystery of redemption-atonement hinted (typified by Moses' brazen serpent in Num 21:5-9; Jn 3:14-15; 2 Cor 5:21), but the first promise of a Redeemer was made, 15. This predicted that He would be of the human race, and would come through Abel, Seth, Noah (Gen 6:8-10), Shem (9:26-27), Abraham (12:1-3), Isaac (17:19-21), Jacob (28:10-14), Judah (49:10), David (2 Sam 7:5-17), culminating in Christ (Mt 1:1).

16. The curse and the woman. The status of woman in the fallen state is outlined and characterized by increased conception and childbearing attended with pain and sorrow, and the headship of the man, made necessary by the disorder brought in by sin (1 Cot 11:7-9; Eph 5:22-25; 1 Tim 2:11-14).

17-19. The curse and the man. The ground was cursed for fallen man's sake, for he could not wisely use too much leisure in his fallen condition, 17. Life was conditioned by inescapable sorrow, 17. Verse 18 may suggest that a vegetarian diet was prescribed. Light occupation of Eden (2:15) changed to heavy labor, 18-19. Physical death, 19, was pronounced (Rom 5:12-21), although man had already demonstrated spiritual death in his shame and fear in God's presence, 813 (cf. Eph 2.1-5; 4:18-19).

20-21. Unity of the race and typified redemption. Adam named his wife Eve ('living') 'because she would become the mother of all the living.' The unity of the human race in Adam is here declared.

22-24. Expulsion from Eden. As a result of disobedience man lost his innocence and experienced knowledge of evil. Through this knowledge conscience was awakened, and he entered a new time period in which God dealt with him not in innocence as in the garden but under conscience. He was responsible to do all known good and to avoid all known evil, and as a sinner to come before God through his prescribed means of redemption (the sacrificial system, though not explicitly commanded here, appears to now be operative, cf. Gen 4:3-5; 8:20; 12:7; etc.).

Man was accordingly expelled from Eden lest by eating of the tree of life he should perpetuate his misery. The cherubim at the gate of Eden vindicated God's holiness against the presumption of sinful man who, in spite of his sin, would 'reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life.' Later, in the Israelite tabernacle, cherubim hovered over the sprinkled blood in the holiest and portrayed the maintenance of the divine righteousness through sprinkled blood typifying the sacrifice of Christ (Ex. 25:17-20; Rom 3:24-26).

4. The first murder and civilization

1-5. Cain and Abel and their worship. Cain ('acquisition') was a type of a natural man of the earth. His religion was of works, destitute of saving faith, a sense of sin and need of atonement (cf. 'the way of Cain,' Jude 11). How mistaken Eve was concerning her first child, when she said, 'With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man.'



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