Eretz = Earth = Land

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Genesis 1:1-2, Genesis 18:25, Genesis 15:18-21, Genesis 11:1-2 & After the message, read Genesis chapters 1 & 2 as well as Revelation chapters 21 & 22

Pastor Steve resumed his Genesis series with a comparison of verses 1-2, where the use of earth in verse 1 is a merism, referring to all of creation. But the Hebrew word for earth in verse 2 is Eretz, meaning land, dirt, or the ground.

“When I hear earth, I think of the planet earth,” Steve said. “If verse 1 is a merism, it’s connecting that to the earth and sky. Moses was trying to get across the idea that God made the whole thing.”

To illustrate this point, he had us turn to Genesis 18:25, where Abraham prayed for Sodom and used Eretz to discuss the earth. Likewise, in Genesis 15:18, when the Lord made His covenant with Abraham, He said He would give Abraham the land in a geographic region.

Since Hebrew is a language of word pictures, when you get into a discussion of the earth it can include the land for animals, the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, so these distinctions are important. The historic creation story is telling us what God did with the land.

Steve also pointed out that Genesis 1:1 through 2:4 is about the Promised Land, listing four reasons:

  • The close relationship between the first two chapters; the first chapter describes creation and the second repeats it, with descriptions of the Garden of Eden.

“If chapter two is a retelling of the creation story, in describing the Garden of Eden, then chapter one is about the same thing,” Steve said. “All of chapter two is about Eden and Adam being placed there.”

  • The description of the location, with Babylon to the east, means the Garden of Eden was to the west.

By the time of Genesis 11, which describes the Tower of Babel, the people had migrated to the east and settled there, meaning Eden was to the west. The angel placed at the entrance of the garden to prevent Adam from re-entering was stationed to the east.

  • The central theme of the first five books of the Bible is about God’s covenant with Israel and Moses receiving God’s Law, which told them how to live.

Then, when the Israelites are wandering in the wilderness, the theme is about them getting back to the Promised Land. Moses is telling the creation account to the same people and describing the perfect place called Eden.

  • Genesis 1-2 tie to Revelation 21-22, with the same Tree of Life described in both accounts.

“What God is bringing us back to is the Eden-like place that Adam and Eve forfeited in the beginning,” Steve said. “God’s intention is to get His people back to the Promised Land. . . . There is a thread from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. It’s a covenant of promise.”