Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTAND FIRM: The Worst Chapter Split in the Bible

STAND FIRM: The Worst Chapter Split in the Bible

The chapters and verses of the Bible aren’t original — they were added later. Without that system, it would be hard to study the Bible as we do. Though chapters and verses are extremely helpful, there are places in the Bible where these chapters or verses are split that hinders us from getting the full picture or meaning. There’s one such split in the Bible that actually seems to be the most logical split, but in reality, it is one of the worst. Because of this split, we have a hard time understanding key principles in the Bible that would help us make more sense of events today, those in the last days and in the age to come.

Before I share this chapter split, the discussion of it comes from a passing statement I made in my previous article. I wrote about how there are still promises on the table for Israel and by understanding these promises or, better said, covenants, we can understand the necessity of the Millennial Kingdom. I shared in passing that we, Gentile believers, enjoy salvation and the promises of God in Christ through Israel. I shared how Romans 11 says the Gentile church is grafted into Israel, and I said that the adoption language in Galatians isn’t just an illustration of how salvation works but is the reality that we are adopted into God’s family and His family is Jewish. The “grafting in” illustration and “adoption” illustrations from the Apostle Paul are the same.

Part of the background of the “grafting in” and “adoption” of Gentile believers is clear to us in the Book of Acts. While Jesus was on earth, the gospel He shared was with the Jews. At the beginning of the Book of Acts, all believers were Jews. The sentiment of all those first believers was that salvation was for Israel and Israel only, but then Peter went to the house of Cornelius. There at Cornelius’ house, the first Gentiles (non-Jews) are saved. This is recorded in Acts 10 and becomes a turning point for salvation and the gospel. Then throughout the rest of the Book of Acts, we see the Apostle Paul become a missionary to the Gentiles. We watch in the Book of Acts, and throughout the epistles in the New Testament, that Gentiles are included in the promises of God.

This appears to be a new thing that arises then. But the foundation of understanding what happens in the home of Cornelius and for the inclusion of Gentiles in the salvation from the Jewish Messiah goes all the way back to the Book of Genesis and to the worst chapter split of all.

There’s a chapter split in Genesis that is treated not only as a division between two chapters but also as a division in the direction of the Bible and the work of God in history. It is often presented that Genesis 1-11 tells the origin of the whole world, while Genesis 12 through the rest of the book tells the origin of Israel. Therefore, the division between Genesis 11 and 12 seems to be the logical split in the Bible, but I believe the split between those two chapters is one of the worst in the Bible. Though the two events presented in those two chapters — the tower of Babel event in Genesis 11 and the calling of Abram in Genesis 12 — seem to be two of the most distinct events in the Bible. Yet, in Deuteronomy 32, Moses connects those two events as one.

The name Deuteronomy means the second giving of the law and the context is that before Moses passed the leadership baton to Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses gathered them to retell the law. In many cases, the summarizing of the law in Deuteronomy is extremely helpful.

One of the most helpful summarizes comes from Deut. 32:7-9 (ESV): “Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. 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.”

Some of the details in this summary are seemingly new in the biblical account, but Moses is speaking of an event in the past. Here he says the event was when God divided mankind and fixed borders of the different people. Though the talk about the nations receiving their inheritance and being divided by the number of the Sons of God may be new, the division of humanity into nations isn’t new to us. This is the aftermath of the Tower of Babel account in Genesis 11. It’s actually seen in Genesis 10 and 11. Genesis 10 shows the division of 70 nations that came out of Babel.

We know, in Genesis 11, that God stopped the building of the tower by sending confusion and causing the people to speak different languages and form into different people groups. This was the birth of the nations.

Interestingly, Moses says at this dividing up of the people into nations that God gave the nations their inheritance or, in other words, God gave the nations away. Though He “gave away” the nations, He then took His own people. We see this in Genesis 12, God calls Abram out of the nations to build God’s own “new” nation or family. Moses connects these two events.

Even in this creation of His “own” nation that would be heirs to God’s promises, God foreshadows that the “nations” would be blessed through His own people.

As you can see, the hard split between Genesis 11 and Genesis 12 leads to us missing a major event and causes confusion to the work of the gospel and the nations. The gospel coming to the Gentiles is redeeming the “giving away” of the nations at Babel. Through the gospel, God is grafting in and adopting the nations into His own special family.

— Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (